Governor Bob McDonnell issued the following statement following news that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has informed the Commonwealth that it will not be appealing a federal district court decision from January which said it was illegal for the EPA to regulate storm water itself as a pollutant as it flows into Virginia waterways. The deadline for filing an appeal was today.
"While it was already a major victory for Virginians when federal judge Liam O'Grady ruled that the EPA had exceeded its statutory authority by imposing restrictions on the flow of storm water into Fairfax County's Accotink Creek, today's news that the EPA won't subject Virginia taxpayers to additional unneeded efforts to combat this federal regulatory overreach is an additional win for Virginia taxpayers, and further evidence of the strength of the Commonwealth's position. The historic ruling allows the EPA to regulate pollutants such as sediment within storm water under the Clean Water Act (CWA), but not the storm water itself as it had tried to do.
"Virginia taxpayers will save nearly $300 million in unnecessary costs to regulate the flow of water rather than regulating the pollutants. The additional compliance costs originally mandated by the EPA were estimated at $215 million for Fairfax County and $70 million for VDOT. The cumbersome, expensive and overreaching EPA restrictions would have diverted public funds that could have been spent more effectively on stream restoration for Accotink Creek and other waterways in the region. It would have also forced Fairfax County and VDOT to purchase or condemn additional private property to build unnecessary storm water management facilities around the creek.
"I applaud Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for ardently fighting to prevent federal bureaucracy from costing Virginians hundreds of millions in unnecessary costs. His actions have prevented future significant negative impacts on property owners due to the EPA's rapidly expanding regulatory policies."