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45 Cities Sue to Stop Multi-Billion Dollar Stormwater Regulations; Environmentally Questionable Rules Could Cost Billions, Kill Jobs, According to Study.

News Editors & City Desks

SIGNAL HILL, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 22, 2003

The Coalition for Practical Regulation today announced that 45 local cities have filed suit to overturn stormwater regulations which experts estimate could cost taxpayers billions of dollars and cause the loss of tens of thousands of jobs throughout Southern California. The cities join the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation, in the action against the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, which recently adopted the controversial rules.

The litigation comes in the wake of the State Water Resources Board's refusal last month to consider the cities' and County's appeal.

"Since the State Board refused to hear our appeal, the cities and the County have no other option than to file suit," commented Larry Forester, Council Member from Signal Hill and a member of the Coalition's steering committee. "The cities and the County are absolutely committed to funding common sense programs to improve the quality of water at our local beaches, lakes and rivers," stated Forester, "but the L.A. Board has not conducted any scientific or cost-benefit analyses to justify these regulations. The open-ended nature of the rules leaves cities - and taxpayers - with no financial safety net.

"We simply cannot afford to divert limited financial resources from essential services such as public safety in order to comply with these open-ended storm water rules which have no basis in sound economic or environmental research," Forester concluded.

Litigation was preceded by the release, a few days earlier, of a report by experts at the University of Southern California that found that the dozens of new storm water rules will lead to the expensive treatment of storm water, at even greater costs to taxpayers than the region's current wastewater treatment, which is processed in large facilities.

The USC report found that the construction of storm water treatment facilities could cost the region between $37 and $326 billion, based on the number of facilities required. Average cost to a household in Los Angeles County could range from $6,089 to $45,605, over the twenty-year life of the treatment plan.

The Los Angeles Region operates under a little-known storm water consent decree, the result of litigation between the National Resources Defense Council and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. A federal court approved the consent decree in San Francisco in 1999, with no input from the cities. The consent decree mandates the development of over 92 storm water rules for the Los Angeles Region by 2006, covering such pollutants as bacteria and heavy metals. The cities maintain that they should have been notified of the consent decree and invited to the negotiations, since the costs of the new clean up programs will fall onto local cities, taxpayers and businesses.

While state and regional regulators, as well as EPA officials, have said that the regulations do not require storm water treatment, no such exclusion appears in writing in the regulations themselves.

"We are asking that the Regional Water Board make good on its public pronouncements, that the Board will not require the cities and the County to treat storm water, by specifically adding this into the new storm water permit," commented Forester. "Otherwise, taxpayers could be on the hook to underwrite this environmentally ineffective unfunded mandate. With billions of dollars and thousands of jobs at stake, we simply can't afford to take that chance."

For additional information, call (818) 606-1103, or visit www.citiessavejobs.com.

Cities filing petitions include:

Alhambra Gardena Rosemead
Arcadia Hawaiian Gardens San Gabriel
Artesia Industry Santa Clarita
Baldwin Park Irwindale Santa Fe Springs
Bell Gardens La Mirada Sierra Madre
Bellflower Lakewood Signal Hill
Beverly Hills Lawndale South Gate
Carson Monrovia South Pasadena
Cerritos Montebello Temple City
Claremont Monterey Park Torrance
Commerce Norwalk Vernon
Covina Paramount Walnut
Diamond Bar Pico Rivera West Covina
Downey Pomona Westlake Village
El Segundo Rancho Palos Verdes Whittier
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jan 22, 2003
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