Maryland Gov.-elect Larry Hogan (R) has said he wants to repeal a state law requiring stormwater fees in Baltimore and 10 of the state’s other most populous counties. The law, passed by outgoing Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), is intended to help fund programs managing stormwater, improving local watersheds, and restoring the Chesapeake Bay. Hogan, however, says money for these programs should come from the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund. Hogan’s stance on stormwater fees and negative press surrounding the “rain tax” may have played a role in the Nov. 4 election in a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 2 to 1, according to news sources.
In efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay, Hogan also calls for dredging the tons of sediment and nutrients that have built up behind the Conowingo Dam on the Susquehanna River, the largest tributary to the bay. However, a draft study released Nov. 13 by an interagency team including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, among others, has said the most cost-effective option is to expand efforts to control stormwater runoff in states along the river, upstream of the dam.