The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will examine efforts to address urban storm water runoff at a March 19 hearing, E&E Daily reported.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is looking at overhauling its storm water program after a critical report by the National Research Council in October.
The report, which EPA requested in order to improve its Clean Water Act regulations for storm water pollution, says the agency must make radical changes to its storm water program in order to reverse degradation of freshwater resources, and recommended that EPA base discharge permits on watershed boundaries rather than political boundaries. The study also suggests integrating storm water management and land management practices.
Members of Congress have been looking at urban storm water problems, as well.
An amendment to H.R. 1262 would require states using state revolving fund cash to give priority to projects that construct natural, vegetation-based systems to filter and store storm water runoff and floodwaters for recharging of natural aquifers, and would also provide technical assistance and funding to communities that include green infrastructure in their water management plans and infrastructure improvements.
Another amendment would require states to set aside 20% of their combined sewer and sanitary sewer grants for communities that implement green infrastructure or other water- and energy-efficient improvements.
Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-Minn.) also promised that his committee will closely monitor how states use the $6 billion in cash for the state revolving funds contained in the recent economic stimulus package.
The National Research Council report is available at http://dels.nas.edu/dels/rpt_briefs/stormwater_discharge_final.pdf.
Source: E&E Daily