Don't delay stormwater management regs

December 12, 2013

“I’ve had constituents that were unaware their homes were vulnerable to flooding until their yards started filling up with water. Once that happens, they are left scrambling for solutions." That statement was made by Rep. Ruth Briggs King, R-Georgetown, last February after she and other legislators toured several Sussex County communities that are beset by stormwater and flooding problems.

Yet Rep. Briggs-King, along with 15 other Kent and Sussex lawmakers, sent a letter Dec. 5 to DNREC Secretary Colin O’Mara requesting “a moratorium of at least three years for Sussex and Kent counties on the implementation of the new state stormwater management regulations scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2014.

Why do they want a delay? According to their letter, “the proposed regulations will have a chilling effect on economic development in Sussex and Kent counties. Because of the geography and high water tables in Sussex County, compliance with the new requirements will be very costly and may have a negative effect on near-term and future development…”

During the seven years the regulations were developed there were numerous workshops and hearings, as well as public comments from hundreds of individual and groups. The final regulations were published April 1, but DNREC delayed the effective date for nine months in order to offer workshops and outreach. And now 16 legislators don’t want the regulations to go into effect in Sussex and Kent? (They’re okay with New Castle though.)

I strongly urge Secretary O’Mara to reject this request and ensure the regulations go in effect throughout the state on January 1. Better management of stormwater will reduce the economic and environmental impact of flooding and improve the water quality of our streams, rivers and bays.

I will leave it to the constituents of the legislators who signed to decide whose interests were represented when they asked for a delay because of the "negative effect on future development."

They are representatives Ron Gray, Danny Short, Donald Blakey, Ruth Briggs King, Tim Dukes, Harvey Kenton, Jack Peterman, Jeff Spiegelman, Bobby Outten, Dave Wilson and John Atkins; senators Robert Venables, Gary Simpson, Gerald Hocker, Brian Pettyjohn and Dave Lawson.

Joanne Cabry
Progressive Democrats of Sussex County

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