Those storm clouds are going to cost you. Don’t pray for rain. If you’re book club needs a suggestion, offer Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. There could be a new tax in town, the Obama Rainwater Tax, courtesy of the EPA and their imagination.
Home owners and businesses, since both are so steady in the current economic climate, could be facing additional governmental burdens if Lisa Jackson, EPA administrator, gets passage of her new initiative.
Americans For Prosperity has the soggy details.
Take a look at the EPA’s own Federal Register filing, where the EPA generally describes the initiative it’s proposing:
…requirements, including design or performance standards, for stormwater discharges from, at minimum, newly developed and redeveloped sites. EPA intends to propose regulatory options that would revise the NPDES regulations and establish a comprehensive program to address stormwater discharges from newly developed and redeveloped sites and to take final action no later than November 2012. (Source)
The new fees and taxes are already pouring down, the first of many rain puns to come. USA Today reported last week of cities already dousing their property owners with additional taxes and fees to cover the deluge of EPA regulations rumbling on the horizon.
The EPA have already begun issuing limits on storm water, requiring local governments to spit up extra funds to meet new water quality regulations which will “soon start slowly reshaping America’s roads, housing developments and even the traditional lawn.”
By deciding to regulate how much rainwater can now flow into lakes, rivers, streams, and your neighbor’s front yard, the EPA are burdening home owners who are already struggling to make mortgage payments, pay property taxes, and adhere to previous EPA regulations. Homeowners are now in danger of drowning in red tape.
Or suffocating. But that’s not a rain pun.
Cities and counties are implementing storm water fees, based on the amount of rainwater that flows off a property, which appears rather biased against anyone living on a hill.
• Hays, Kan., homeowners will start paying $4 a month in April to raise $378,000 a year for storm water improvements. Haverhill, Mass., and Urbandale, Iowa, are adding fees, too.
• Maryland is considering requiring cities and counties to charge storm water fees.
• The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District has been sued by business groups for trying to impose a $4.75 monthly fee in the Cleveland area.
Although fees range between $2-$10 a month for an average home, the amount is based on the rainwater and how much space is taken by roofs and driveways and surfaces. “Large retail stores, schools and airports” or any property not comprised of large sponges “can pay thousands of dollars a month.”
Two rainwater tax initiatives have been defeated, one in Colorado Springs and another in Seminole County, Florida.
While The EPA is taking the 1989 Milli Vanilli song quite literally – “You can blame it on the rain, Cos the rain don’t mind, And the rain don’t care. You got to blame it on something” – Congress may have a different opinion. A bi-partisan effort has already been underway to block the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, i.e. the air we exhale. Voters, too, aren’t embracing environment regulations with hugs and kisses as in times past. The love affair is waning. Or, if seeking another pun, you could say it’s all wet.
Americans are more likely to say the U.S. should prioritize development of energy supplies than to say it should prioritize protecting the environment, the first time more have favored energy production over environmental protection in this question’s 10-year history.
No word yet if the EPA plans to balance out the Obama rainwater tax with a sunshine credit for the 95% of Americans who won’t have a tax increase during his Presidency.