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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

February 9, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Stormwater pollution

Be willing to pay for a healthy environment

New hope for a cleaner Sound

According to your article about new rulings requiring stormwater-pollution reduction in Puget Sound [“Stormwater ruling a win for small cities,” Around the Northwest, Feb. 3], small cities will have some time before they must adapt more-stringent, “low impact” development standards required of bigger cities and counties. Although the rules delay the day of reckoning, they point small city planners toward the same goals eventually.

There’s another way to tackle the costly problem of reducing stormwater pollution in Puget Sound. It’s in House Bill 1614, Invest in Clean Water, now being considered by the state Legislature.

This bill would fund critical water-quality projects across the state through polluter-pays fees levied directly on petroleum products possessed by companies in the state. This could provide more than $100 million each year to implement solutions in problem areas around the state.

Is this a fair way to pay to reduce stormwater pollution? Contaminated runoff from our roads and urban areas is the No. 1 water-pollution problem in the state. This pollution comes largely from petroleum products and makes up 90 percent of the surface-water pollution flowing into Puget Sound.

Both taxpayers and producers should pay for protections we need for a healthy environment.

— Tim Bernthal, Seattle

Comments | More in Environment, Washington Legislature

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