You have to hand it to Washington’s Department of Ecology. Faced with the prospect of trying to explain a new set of stormwater regulations to a skeptical City Council in Pullman, the minions from Olympia did what comes natural to state officials.Again, that's another reason to vote for I-933.
They offered money in lieu of an explanation.
Sure, by some folks’ thinking money will handle just about any woe. It still doesn’t explain why Pullman was included in a new series of regulations that in the long term will cost a good deal more money than the state was offering.
Pullman, like a good number of other communities, does have issues with how it deals with stormwater runoff, and it’s a consistent topic of conversation when local developments are considered.
Those concerns, though, are easily explained through the municipal processes.
What the council heard about Tuesday was not.
The Department of Ecology sent a representative to the council to tell the city about a new permit process designed to manage the quantity and quality of runoff water from developments. It includes more stringent stormwater management standards and reporting requirements. City officials figure it will cost more money in staffing and no one knows whether Pullman actually would be able to comply with the new regulations.
When the city tried to be excluded, the folks in Olympia said, “No.”
That’s not good enough. It doesn’t make it any more appealing when the state offers $75,000 in grants to implement a policy that can’t be explained.
If the Department of Ecology can’t come up with a legitimate reason why the rules should apply to a community that doesn’t exist in the Puget Sound basin, there’s a good chance the rule shouldn’t have been applied statewide. Anything Ecology comes up with now will amount to nothing more than a bureaucratic attempt to not look like goofballs.
That’s hardly the best way to develop public policy.
Monday, October 02, 2006
"Pullman needs reasons, not money"
Steve McClure had a great editorial in today's Daily News: