by Worldchanging Washington DC blogger, Graham Webster
A new proposal in Maryland uses an innovative tax to discourage storm water runoff into the Chesapeake Bay.
A proposal announced Thursday would start a "Green Fund" charge on new development in Maryland to pay for efforts to reduce nitrogen and other pollution in the bay. Supporters say the fund could raise $130 million a year to speed cleanup efforts in hopes of getting closer to 2010 goals of improving water quality in the bay.
Here's how it would work: builders would pay 25 cents a square foot for any surface water can't get through, such as a traditional roof, parking lot or driveway. The fee would go up eight times—to $2 a square foot—if the new construction came outside an area designated for growth.
The fee could add $6,000 to a house built on a quarter-acre lot outside a growth zone, said Kim Coble, Maryland director of the nonprofit Chesapeake Bay Foundation, which promoted the "Green Fund" idea. [WTOP via BeyondDC]
If passed, it could both discourage runoff and create a pool of money for other clean-up efforts—assuming good management and planning for the fund.
While it's a novel way to raise some money and reduce a suite of other problems, I'd love to see the technical analysis that recommends this an effective approach to reduce N-loading.