The Wild One Hits a Home Run on Storm Water Run-Off

Richmond Mayor L. Douglas Wilder strikes me as a loose cannon in many ways, but he is pushing an idea for funding stormwater drainage and water quality clean-up that has real merit. As Michael Martz writes in the Times-Dispatch, the Wild One wants to impose an annual fee on homeowners, businesses and even not-for-profit institutions that varies according to the amount of stormwater run-off they generate from roofs and pavement. This idea, if approved by City Council, could provide a template for dealing with storm water run-off across the state.

The fees would generate about $15 million a year, enough to fund an estimated $100 million in storm water improvements over the next 16 years — mostly ditches, ditch maintenance, catch basins and enforcement of water-quality regulations.

The fee will, of course, be highly unpopular. Homeowners in the city are reeling from soaring personal property taxes, among the highest water and sewer rates in the country, and a meals & lodging tax enacted for the purpose of funding a performing arts center that never got built. I am not defending the city’s overall tax level. I am merely saying that, once you’ve made the decision to pay for storm water improvements, this is the most logical way to do it.

Wilder’s proposal offers a logical nexus between who pays, how much they pay and what they’re paying for. The more run-off property owners generate, the more they would pay. The fee would apply not only to homeowners and businesses — it would apply, as it should, to not-for-profit institutions like churches and Virginia Commonwealth University, which are exempt from property taxes. Additionally, property owners would be able to cut their annual fees by up to 50 percent if they reduced the quantity of runoff or improve its quality.

Council President William Pantele expressed concern that the proposal was submitted so far into the budget-formulation process. But, he conceded, “It’s the right thing to do.” The proposal is designed to enable Richmond to comply with state regulations, scheduled to take effect in 2009, governing run-off into the James River and its tributaries.

Now, if we can just apply the same logic to development in Virginia’s fast-growth counties, with their endless roads and sprawling parking lots and nitrogen-laden lawns.

Update: Bart Hinkle, the Times-Dispatch columnist, questions whether it’s reasonable to hit Richmond homeowners with another tax burden.

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21 responses to “The Wild One Hits a Home Run on Storm Water Run-Off”

  1. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Not sure how Mr. Wilder got so far out in front on this issue but he’s not inventing this – it’s coming as a statewide regulation that starts with the first phase dealing with named urban areas.

    “Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System Permitting

    Under the Phase 1 regulations, permits for stormwater discharges from municipal separate storm sewer systems were required for eleven “large” and “medium” municipalities in Virginia. The “large” municipalities (>/= 250,000 population) are Fairfax County, Virginia Beach and Norfolk. The “medium” municipalities (>/= 100,000 and < 250,000 population) are Arlington County, Prince William County, Henrico County, Chesterfield County, Hampton, Newport News, Portsmouth, and Chesapeake. The Phase 1 municipal separate storm sewer systems permit applications required the municipalities to propose a comprehensive Stormwater Management Program (SWMP) of structural and non-structural measures to control the discharge of pollutants from the storm sewer system to the maximum extent practicable, …”

    and note this:

    “to control …to the maximum extent practicable….”

    It used to be … that smart growth folks advocated “cluster” development – where housing was concentrated on part of a parcel while the rest of the parcel was kept green as a combination runoff/amenity.

    Now.. we talk about smart growth as higher-density development… on the entire parcel for the most part – which means much more impervious surfaces and much less LID natural draining of runoff into the ground.

    Go back to the regulation… and look at the key concept – they’re regulating the runoff as a pipe – point source – where BOTH water QUALITY and quantity are regulated.

    This means that what is in the storm water will be regulated and may require treatment if it contains too many contaminates – like anti-freeze, pet feces, etc – as well as things like nitrogen and phosphorus…

    that means… that each one of us – now has a direct responsibility and role in the runoff that is generated by our own activities – where it is putting fertilizer on our laws.. or walking our dog along a sidewalk that drains into a creek… or parking our car in a lot that drains into a creek.

    It will be interesting to see how many folks accept that responsibility and how many folks will regard it as unfair.

    But there is no question about the intent – which is to improve the water quality of the rivers that feed the Chesapeake Bay…

    will we all take up the challenge or will we fight this as bad public policy beause of the costs that will be imposed on … polluters?

  2. Tom James Avatar
    Tom James

    Good Stuff.

    I have a number of links on my blog regarding Rainwater Harvesting.

    This is one of my favorites:

    A Texas ext agent supplies all his water needs on as little as 9 inches of rain a year.

    Imagine getting people self-sufficient regarding water. It would be Free from the sky, cleaner, pre-softened.

    Reduce runoff into the bay.

    Also imagine the government/taxpayer savings!

    The government out of the water business and the cleaning up of our waterways. How much money does government waste in this area yielding no results.

    And that is the only reason I can come up with, why our great leaders have not made this mandatory. The reduction in taxes and government positions that would result.

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    The Mayor’s proposal to charge all users within a class equally is another typical big-government approach . . . my lawn at under 1600 s.f. produces much less runoff than the half-acre lots a few blocks down. There’s no incentive for a homeowner to take personal responsibility

  4. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    It appears than parcels one acre and under may be exempt… if they are not part of a bigger development that has a storm water discharge point – at least the way I read it.

    I think this reg is pointed primarily at impervious surfaces rather than homeowners yards.

    To me.. it’s interesting.. that in terms of efficiency that dense housing.. done via multistory buildings doesn’t shed any more rain water than a one story building with the same “footprint” and that further.. such multistory buildings that have one or more floors dedicated to parking… would also not have exposed impervious surfaces containing oil, antifreeze and pet feces… though.. if folks have pets.. they’re gonna go … “somewhere”.

  5. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Anonymous 3:38, I didn’t say that the Mayor’s plan was ideal. I totally agree with you. The best system would be: the smaller the lot, the smaller the smaller the fee. Ideally, you’d get additional offsets for implementing best practices, though, as a practical matter, that would be impossibly expensive to implement on the scale of individual homeowners.

  6. E M Risse Avatar
    E M Risse

    Other caveats:

    As we point out in the section “Mown-Grass Pollution” in The Shape of the Future, (Chapter 11), it is not just roofs and asphalt that cause fast runoff.

    Short grass after a dry spell is akin to concrete in speeding up storm event discharge. The first wash is a killer.

    There is the excess fertilizer, pestiside and fungiside applied to try to achieve a “scott” lawn in this this climate.

    Oh yes and running small gasoline engines to mow and trim short grass is 11 times as polluting per hour of operation as todays best performing four passenger Autonomobiles.

    They make a lot more noise too.

    So the answer is “low impact” development on my lot?

    No, low impact techniques applied at the Unit, Dooryard and Cluster scales cumulatively disaggregate human so that vast amount of resources are consumed to assemble the goods and services needed to support a quality life.

    Larry’s comment suggests the answer: Storm water management at the Neighborhod, Village, Community and sub-regional scale.

    Professionally managed common open land, a fair allocation of the cost of strom water that reflects what each owner and each group of owners do with their land.

    A carbon tax and a comprehensive luxury tax for excess carbon consumption would be one way to go.

    The other is Fundamental Change in human settlement patterns. These patterns have been proven to place human activity in sync with storm water and other natural systems.

    The nice thing is that when they have a choice, these are the settlement patterns favored by the vast majority of the market.

    Think about all that when you mow your lawn (hopefully later) today.


  7. Anonymous Avatar

    Like the surface of a spitball, this editorial is disgusting.

    All I ever hear about from most of the conservative pundits at this site is how horrible it is for politicans to raise taxes. Unless they happen to raise taxes in the city of Richmond, that is. Then raising taxes is tranformed into a “home run” for the politicians in question. (Vpaf arts center, anyone?)

    But just guess what would happen on this site if Tim Kaine introduced a last-minute measure to raise taxes in this manner, a plan that had to be in the planning stages for months but submitted just under the wire. “I wonder how long this has been in the works,” some conservative pundit would ask with foam on his lips. “Why is this being released this late in the process?” someone else would ask. “How dare Kaine do this without public comment?” others would ask. “Who really benefits from this – not the average taxpayer,” etc. etc.

    No, we don’t get that this time because it is only the people in the city of Richmond being taxed (again). And all to help pay for Mr. Trani’s inability to have VCU (one of the primary sources of the city’s runoff problem) conform to LEED standards or to answer to conservationists.

    Why do I think this perspective on home run taxes would be different if the counties were being asked to pony up too?

    This tax also rewards the city of Richmond’s stubborn foot-dragging on long-term sustainable water practices. Home run? Far from it. This is a game called because of rain, and this is a team in desperate need of a bullpen change and a new manager.

  8. Jim Wamsley Avatar
    Jim Wamsley

    Laissez-faire conservative position versus free market conservative position.

    Who should have the right to pollute the Bay? Who should pay for it? Should anyone compensate the watermen who are loosing their livelihood.?

  9. Anonymous Avatar

    My small lot is 33% grass, 31% mulched beds, and 36% house and sidewalk. I’m no engineer, but I can calculate the stormwater loads in about 10 minutes using a calculator and scratch paper.

    I measured and gridded my entire lot last fall to calculate to the pound/sq. foot the amount of N,P,K and lime to apply, after a soil test, to ensure I am only applying just enough fertilizer and soil amendments to do the trick, and no more. I upgraded my turfgrass to heat/drought/fungus tolerant/resistant varieties (6 of them) to reduce the need for water and chemicals.

    This exercise took me 2.5 hours, in addition to my normal fall yard prep.

    Yet a homeowner like me would have to pay the same amount as his next door neighbor, who has extra impervious cover and applies fertilizer and chemicals willy-nilly?

    I am sorry I don’t have more patience for this City administration — and I know I am being more than a little snarky, but which no-bid contractor did it give the job to calculate the taxes? How about an audit?

  10. E M Risse Avatar
    E M Risse


    Sorry, left out a word in the prior post.

    No, low impact techniques applied at the Unit, Dooryard and Cluster scales cumulatively disaggregate human ACTIVITY so that a vast amount of resources are consumed to assemble the goods and services needed to support a quality life.

    Anon 5:45

    Congratulations! You did just the right thing.

    You make a valid point about tax equity, flat rates are unfair for many reasons.

    I have only one question: It only took you 2.5 hours? That is very fast to do a careful job. Nice work.


  11. Ray Hyde Avatar
    Ray Hyde

    Wouldn’t the runoff be related top some sort of ratio of roof/pavement to lot size? Wouldn’t the slope of the lot have something to do with it? Small lots would seem to be a negative. The only thing that makes sense would be to set the tax accoriing the the increase over what would have occured naturally.

    Suppose I have a lot of runoff primarily because I have a lot of run-on, because I am downhill from a row of car dealerships, or the scholl bus parking lot? How do we know what is natural, and what was caused by previous development?

    Suppose my runoff is non-natural, i.e. I operate a car wash?

    Suppose I manage somehow to reduce my runoff to zero. Would that still reduce my “fee” by only 50%?

    Suppose I don’t have any pets, but I have a plethora of deer? (Probably not a problemn in Richmond, but pigeons maybe.)

    One thing is true. Most people cut their grass way too short. I battle with my wife over this constantly. Grass has a “grow” gene. The more you cut it the faster it grows. Do yourself and everyone else a favor, and set your blade at 2.5 to 3 inches.

    “Professionally managed common open land, a fair allocation of the cost of strom water that reflects what each owner and each group of owners do with their land.”

    Now there is a thought.

    Professionally managed common open land. All we have to do is buy it, and form a corporation, HOA, (or some such) to manage it. Makes a lot more sense than what we are doing now.

    “Should anyone compensate the watermen who are loosing their livelihood.?” That depends. How many of them are losing their livliehood due to overfishing vs how many are losing their livliehood due to pollution? I think JW is looking at this the wrong way. Clearly, no one has the right to pollute the Bay. Just as clearly, we have some activities that will pollute the Bay.

    We can simply stop those activities, but we can’t do it without paying some other costs. At some level it comes down to our livliehood vs the watermens livliehood (and our crabs). In Darfur it is the herder’s livliehood vs the farmer’s livliehood.

    It’s not a question of who should pay for polluting the Bay how much, it is a question of how much we are willing to pay to have a clean Bay.

    Conservation isn’t free, and creating a new class of “bad guys” in order to create “new revenue” isn’t the answer.

    We first need an agreement on how much we are willing to pay for how much cleanliness, then we can figure out where to send the bills.

    Which takes us back to the idea of whether watermen should be compensated. How do we balance their right to take crabs with someone else’s right to run a car wash? How much are we willing to pay for 100% water recycling at the car wash in order to keep the price of crabs low? If we make it impossible for the car wash operator to continue, should the watermen compensate him, or should that cost devolve back to us, the ones that agitated for new car wash regulations?

  12. Ray Hyde Avatar
    Ray Hyde

    It seems to me this is another case of retroactive lawmaking.

    In Amsterdam, prostitution is legal. If they choose to make prostitution illegal tommorrow, do they have the right to go after all the vendors and buyers, retroactively?

    I have a car lot, and I bought the land and built the car lot according to the regulations in place at the time. Now we have a new runoff regulation, in support of a new public benefit. Does the government have the right to go after me retroactively? Ordinarily we concede that we do not, because we phase in the regulations over along period of time to prevent undue hardship.

    I bought a property intending to put up a car lot, and my business plan is based on the regulations in place. Suddenly I am faced with new regulations which make my business plan worthless. To me, the hardship is just as real as if my dealership was already constructed, but the answer is likely to be far different than for an existing dealership.

    But the flip side is that if only the “new guys” are affected, it amounts to a subsidy for the status quo. The “new guys” pay big up front costs (say proffers) but they also have to pay their (new) share of debentured infrastructure previously built and borrowed for.

    In this case, the “new guy” is going to pay big up-front costs for elaborate drainage control, and he is going to pay his share of the loans for previous (inadequate) drainage control.

    Realistically, his up-front costs should be subsidized by the rest of the community to the same extent that he subsidizes the loans for the previous (and now deemend inadequate) drainage.

    The likely scenario is that the new drainage requirements will be established high enough meet some future goal of water cleanliness, regardless of the situation at the start.

    Therefore new development will pay a higher price. But this new amenity is not evident, as say a larger kitchen or new deck. Therefore older development will benefit disproportionately from the costs incurred by the “new guy” unless larger “non-attainment” fees are assessed against the old guys.

    Which leads us back to the beginning: how do you fairly assess new “non-attainment” fees against someone who built according to the rules in place at the time?

    I’d suggest that such rules be written in such a way that they are implemented gradually over a very long period of time. Otherwise the pain will be so great that the measure will fail.

  13. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    re: “How do we balance their right to take crabs with someone else’s right to run a car wash?”

    It’s not a “right” to pollute whether it be via a cash wash or other activity.

    who is polluting? who is engaging in an activity that causes harm to others that depend on an unpolluted resource for their living?

    If you pollute – does that give you the right to continue to pollute just because you’ve been doing it unfettered for years?

    I agree about tweaking the regs initially and as time goes by to gradually enable both new and older polluters to adapt in a way that allows them to continue to go forward – but with the necessary changes – as opposed to slam/bam, you’re outta business.

    But I don’t agree at all with the underlying concept, that just because someone has been polluting for years … and is now going to be regulated is being treated “unfairly”.

    This all goes back to what some folks perceive as “rights” that were never legitimate “rights” to start with.

    When the Clean Water Act was passed, it made a clear statement – that no one had a “right” to pollute.

    It would be, instead, a permitted activity that would depend exactly on the scope and scale of the pollutants – AND that even those permitted pollutants could and would be further restricted as more science revealed the potential for more harm.

    For more on this concept – GOGGLE TMDL – Total Maximum Daily Limits – which are also being put into effect for all rivers in Virginia and will result in even more restrictions on pollutants.

    The part about all of this is that is will .. directly impact all of us – not just .. say car washes – because .. the cleanup will result in car washes having to incorporate pollution control technology – the cost of which – will be incorporated into the price of the car wash.

    Ditto with storm water regs and TMDL regs. We’ll all have to pay our share.

    However, I do agree with the respondents that say that there’s a lack of incentive for homeowners to do the “right” thing if everyone gets charged the same.

    But what would be a solution to this other than paying a government person to come around and inspect your property for compliance?

    Any Other ideas where people are incentivized without increasing government costs?

  14. Anonymous Avatar

    I agree with the previous anonymous post. This is disgusting. Richmonders are already paying the most regressive minimum water and sewer rate IN THE COUNTRY!

    If Bacon, the Mayor, and Council really cared about the environment, they would argue to change the rate structure to encourage conservation and discourage waste.

    This is directly related to stormwater runoff. If Ethyl and VCU had to pay more for the water it uses to water its corporate lawn, it would be more interested in storing and using rainwater.

    What’s a matter Bacon, afraid of upsetting your Richmond social betters?

  15. Ray Hyde Avatar
    Ray Hyde

    “If you pollute – does that give you the right to continue to pollute just because you’ve been doing it unfettered for years?”

    I don’t think it is exactly the same. What we are talking about here is people’s homes, which were previously constructed and sanctioned by the government. suddenly, those sanctions are deemed insufficient. And what was once pure rainwater falling from the sky is now pollution, just because it bounced off your roof.

    Shades of 1984, when did governemtn become an exercise in behavior modification, for profit?

    “This all goes back to what some folks perceive as “rights” that were never legitimate “rights” to start with.”

    I think you have the right to own what it is you bought. If someone takes all or part of that away without compensation, then it is stealing. Legal stealing, maybe, mob sansctioned stealing, maybe, but stealing just the same.

    The only way the mob is really safe is if we understand what it is that they are doing. Sooner or later the eggs they are laying are going to come home to roost.

  16. Ray Hyde Avatar
    Ray Hyde

    I think you missed my point on the car washes.

    We could ban car washes tomorrow for all I care. My car gets washed when it rains, for the most part. What would you do, chargeme for runoff?

    If we ban car washes, then those that have an uncoontrollable andd unexplainable ure to wahs their cars would do so at home, or at friends houses. We would have a black market in car washes.

    Then what would happen to the “pollution”? It would go on the ground or down the drains. Probably not an optimal solution.

    We can set the car wash cleanliness standard at 10%, 20% and so on, upto 100%. And the costs will be asymptotic to infinity as we go. We are not going to set the standard at NO CAR WASHES, any more that we are going to set it at 100% CLEAN.

    As a result, we are going to settle for fewer crabs at higher prices. It is not all bad for the watermen.

    Unless we can repeal the laws of physics and thermodynamics, then yes, at some point we do have the right to pollute. The car wash that has attained the 50% cleanliness standard we require does, in fact, have the right to pollute with the rest.

    We simply cannot start (or live with) the idea that no one has the right to pollute. Instead, we have to start with the idea of what it is we prefer: crabs or car washes, and then figure out how much we are willing to pay for each.

    This isn’t a matter of punishing the bad guys, and looking at it that way is counterproductive. You have to pay for what it is you want.

    Just because the crab fishermen need an unpolluted environment to ply their trade doesn’t mean the have a right to it. The people that create man made diamonds need a precise ienvironment too, so they go pay to create it. The people that assemble satellites need ultra clean environments, that they have to pay for, and which are reflected in your bill for satellite TV.

    We could have a perfectly pristine environment, so the satellite guys could operate on the street corner, but the cost would be prohibitive. Milllions of people suffer from allergies. We could ban the production of pollen and tax the farmers that make it.

    Where does it stop? How many acres in conservation are enough? How many acres are too many?

    The answer is that we cannot know. The answer changes over time. It only takes a small shortage to cause major price changes, and those price changes wind up changing our idesa about how many car washes we want versus how many crabs.

    Tomorrow morning, I’m going to have a BM, and so is my dog. We are each going to pollute a litle corner of the world, and some microbes are going to be happy.

    I think we have the right.

  17. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    re: car washes and BMs

    …. “Just because the crab fishermen need an unpolluted environment to ply their trade doesn’t mean the have a right to it.”

    It’s not so simple – I admit it but remember… folks used to change their oil and dump the old oil on the dirt road in front of their house to keep the dust down.

    Ditto with the “right” to smoke in restaurants or drive an auto using leaded gas , etc, etc.

    The same could happen with car washing. Outlawed except at approved facilities – that recycle the wash water – 100%.

    There is no “right” to pollute though even though people do pollute anyhow.

    The TMDLs recognize that certain kinds of pollution is part and parcel of society but it also recognizes that there is a limit to both quantity and specific contaminates.

    Ditto with the storm water regs. They won’t require pristine effluent but they will require cleaner effluent than is now allowed.

    Ditto with storm water runoff from rains. Older, existing structures will be grandfathered – while the regs are implemented for new construction.

    Storm water authorities will be created to charge all of us – the money that will be required to go back and backfit existing development and this will take place over a long period of time – probably decades.

    I do find your premise – that the crab fishermen are NOT entitled to an unpolluted resource – and by implication that the pollution that exists – is approved and sanctioned .. and determined to be a legitimate trade-off between the rights of those who pollute verses the rights of those whose jobs depend on not having pollution.

    This strikes me as saying that children and the elderly and the sick in urban areas are not entitled to cleaner air and that automobile pollution is a higher “right” of those who want to drive SOLO SUVs than those whose health is affected.

  18. Ray Hyde Avatar
    Ray Hyde

    “Outlawed except at approved facilities – that recycle the wash water – 100%.”

    Like I said, fine with me, but let’s have a true economic evaluation of the costs, un-polluted with idealistic thoughts of what “should” be.

    “The TMDLs recognize that certain kinds of pollution is part and parcel of society but it also recognizes that there is a limit to both quantity and specific contaminates.”

    In othere words they recognize that pollution is a fact and it has limits. Eventually those limits will translate to how many people can live in a watershed, just as the air pollution limits will restrict how people can live or travel in non-attainment zones.

    In other words, dilution is a partial solution to pollution. Our environmental regs will become giant engines for what some people call sprawl. We can’t have it both ways.

    It would be nice if the crab fishemen had an unpolluted resource, but they do not and never did. It is just that previously the costs to them were too small to measure.

    It would be nice if every car wash had an unpolluted resource to work with, too, but they don’t. They can;t wash cars with filthy water and more than crabs can grow in it. A 100% recycling reg ulation would mean that they had to pay 100% of the cost of their resources, while the crab fishermen pay none (until they wash their car). By the way, Crab fishemen pollute, too.

    I don’t see any point in arguing about who is “entitled” to what resource. I don’t see any point in raising the specter of the elderly and sick without also raisng the specter of what the alternative might amount to.

    The elderly and the sick and the crab farmers don;t have any right to ram their lifesyle down someone else’s throat any more than the SUV drivers have.

    Both pollution and competition are a fact of life. Government does not have the ability to eliminate either one. Suppose the TMDL police discover we have reached the limit. What are we going to do, arrest and deport the next guy who walks his dog?

    Government’s interest is in creating the best economic climate, because that is how government raises the revenue to help the elderly and sick. All I’m suggesting is that it is unlikely that the best economic climate will come from extremes like pristine crab fishing or 100% car wash recycing.

    It is also unlikely that there is one fixed answer for all time. Pollution is approved and sanctioned, as Jim Bacon says, the more you pollute the more you should pay. It’s a nice idea, if it really worked that way then none of us would pay any taxes.

    What actually happens is that the LESS you pollute the more you have to pay to get to the next lower increment. Without a clear economic understanding of what is going on, it is all to easy to demand that next increment. If a little reduction is good, more reduction is better, right?

    Well, maybe not. It turns out that money is a good proxy for energy, labor, and resources. Therefore when it costs too much to cleanup that next increment, then it is a sign that you are wasting resources and therefore polluting more, not less.

    Until we have a sound economic basis for our actions, we could be making things worse for the elderly and sick instead of better. You don’t drive your SUV 40 miles to recycle a pound of aluminum, or do you?

    Depends on the price of aluminum.

  19. Ray Hyde Avatar
    Ray Hyde

    It isn’t that the fishermen are not entitled. It is that a clean environment is not free, and Those that enjoy the benefits should expect to pay the costs.

    When someone is “allowed” to pollute, he is enjoying one of the benefits of having the TMDL’s below limits. That is the real justification for charging polluters. But he is going to pass that cost on to his customers, who then share in the benefits of an environment that is clean enough to allow him to operate.

    Villifying certain operations and extolling others does nothing to change the facts about who benefits and how.

  20. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    re: “Eventually those limits will translate to how many people can live in a watershed, just as the air pollution limits will restrict how people can live or travel in non-attainment zones.”

    OR… you can cut down on the sources of the pollution…

    What you are advocating is essentially that pollution in whatever scope and scale it exists – has always existed – and that it cannot be altered – and even if it could – it would be wrong because – whoever polluted first – has the right to continue to do so.

    And you say.. in the process… that those who suffer from the effects of pollution.. the crabbers, the elderly, the sick, children etc.. that’s tough toenails… because their “rights” came “AFTER” the rights of those who pollute.

    If we followed your view – we’d have no Clean Water Act at all nor an EPA.

    There would be no reason for either because whoever benefited from polluting would .. have that right – because.. in your view – if others have that “right” – everyone should..

    Farmers would use Agent Orange. Car Washes would use 10 times as much phosphate so cars would be easier to clean…. People would not hook up to sewage lines but instead just put a pipe down to a ditch.. because it was cheaper than paying the hook-up fee.

    etc, etc…

    Fortunately for everyone – no one has the unfettered “right to pollute” – even if you’ve been doing it for years.

    Some see this as nasty over regulation.. and I’ll admit.. that regulation can and does get out of hand… but I still prefer it to the alternatives.

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