Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Hypocrisy, Irony, Let's Call The Whole Thing Off

I call it rank hypocrisy and Steve McClure more politely called it "irony" in an editorial in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News, but it's obvious everyone can see that Moscow's "environmental" stance on development in the Pullman-Moscow corridor is paper thin.
OUR VIEW: EPA's stormwater stance is all wet
Runoff regulations fit the bill for challenge by Moscow, Pullman

The city of Moscow is in the same predicament Pullman found itself in a few months back - with a few variations just so it doesn't look like just another bureaucratic folderol.

The Environmental Protection Agency wants to classify Moscow's stormwater requirements based on information that was out of date and Moscow is considering a challenge to the designation.

It makes as much sense to apply stormwater standards based on old data as it does to apply blanket standards with no regard to the local soils and topography.

In other words, it doesn't, and Moscow should challenge the listing as aggressively as Pullman.

The higher listing on the federal scale would cost Moscow between $250,000-$350,000, according to city officials.

Now, it would be too much to ask that we not point out the irony that these standards are meant to manage the quality and quantity of runoff from development and to control stormwater discharge - all with the goal of reducing pollution and contamination downstream.

In Moscow's case, downstream would be just west of the state line, where the city has raised concerns about stormwater runoff to protest proposed developments.

Irony aside, Moscow now looks further west to calculate the costs of implementing the Phase II stormwater standards. City staff based their cost estimates on figures from Pullman, which earlier this year was hit with the same requirements. When Pullman asked why they were listed, no one could provide an answer.

Now the city is implementing the standards while challenging the rule in court.

In Moscow, members of the City Council committee reviewing the requirements point to improvements already implemented or in the planning stage as signs the city can manage its stormwater without the push from the feds. They expressed an interest in challenging the listing.

About the only thing that makes sense in this rigmarole is the push by Pullman, and now Moscow, to challenge rules that can't be explained.

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