Thursday, October 14, 2010

Limiting Runoff: Another Way to Save the Bay

Today's Washington Post describes new regulations proposed for Prince George's County which are designed to force developers to set up better buffers on the edges of their projects. Environmental scientists talk about the share of land in a watershed that is "impervious," i.e. blacktop, concrete, etc., since water running off impervious land collects filth as well as picking up speed and mass en route to plunging into local waterways. Full, fast streams keep water plants from doing their filtering job, and the Chesapeake gets hit with more junk.

Everyone would like the Chesapeake to be cleaner, but the question is how best to accomplish that. Developers say that the new regulations are excessive.

The recession has led to businesses downsizing and an abundance of unoccupied office space, so developers are already struggling, though it's less bad in the DC area than elsewhere. Less development is needed now, but life is already tougher than usual for developers. No question higher costs will hurt a struggling industry, but there are clear benefits as well. I wonder if there has been any detailed cost-benefit analysis....

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