The Coalition for Practical Regulation, a group of 42 Southern California cities, along with Los Angeles County and the County's Economic Development Commission, gained support from leading business and labor groups for appealing a recent ruling by the Los Angeles Regional Water Control Board. The Construction Industry Coalition, which represents 3,300 California firms employing 350,000 workers, joined the Building Industry Association of Southern California to declare support for the cities' appeal of the Board's decision to impose new storm drain regulations on local communities.
A state-contracted study says the new regulations will cost local taxpayers a total of $54 billion over the next 10 years and threatens to raise property taxes by seventy-percent. Additionally, new regulations require cities to utilize untested and unproven water control measures on a wide variety of private and public construction projects.
"The Regional Board's actions will force increased taxes, cost thousands of workers their jobs, and force cities to choose between providing law enforcement or implementing rules that may not even improve water quality," said Larry Forester, Mayor of Signal Hill.
The Coalition advocates storm water programs in which all responsible parties share equally in the costs, and seeks more controls on the sources of storm water pollutants such as reformulating urban pesticides and phasing out Styrofoam food containers. The group also contends that the Board's decision eliminates any legal protection that previous permits allowed. As a result, cities could become subject to third-party litigation and fines up to $27,500 per day.
"We don't know what the Board members were thinking," said Michael Egan, City Administrator of Bellflower. "They sure weren't thinking about residents and business owners from small communities like ours who'll be forced to pick up the tab."
The Coalition for Practical Regulation filed the appeal with the State Water Resources Control Board on January 11. The Board has 270 days to hear the appeal. For additional information, contact Ken Farfsing, City Manager of Signal Hill at (562) 989-7302.