There is something hovering around San Juan County. Witnesses have seen it flying around. It is expensive, limitless in size, and has a bad odor. It is a solution searching for a problem. It is the new revised edition of the Unpopular Flawed Ordinance (UFO) for storm water.
The Council did not get the message from the people who voted overwhelmingly to repeal the last storm water ordinance. It was very unpopular. The people said that there must be a demonstrable and well-defined problem before there can be a solution.
We are being told that uncontrolled storm water may pollute groundwater and the marine environment. Where is the evidence of widespread drinking water contamination? Where is the catastrophic flooding?
Recently the greener-than-thou folks at the department of bigheaded ecologists (DOE) reported that the waters surrounding the San Juan Islands are “the most pristine in the state of Washington.” If they can say this considering the volume of pollution and raw sewage spewed out just a few miles away from “Supernatural British Columbia”, then how bad can the problem really be?
I’m not saying that there are no pollutants in the rainwater that runs off the back of our pristine green islands but it is minuscule when compared with the urban areas down sound. The State GMA storm water legislation was intended to deal with industrial pollution and runoff in the concrete jungles of lower Puget Sound where they get three times our annual rainfall. It is flawed reasoning to assume that we have problems of that scale and try to apply the same Draconian fix for our little drop in the proverbial bucket.
The thing that rankles islanders the most is that the Council treats us like we are big polluters and fines us just because we live in a house on a dirt road where it occasionally rains. There is ample evidence that our Council has an insatiable appetite for tax money and this is just one more sneaky way to extort it. Many islanders think that we already pay through the nose for our local government services and yet these guys continually tweak that same swollen nose until it resembles an eggplant. It is irksome.
It’s easy for our leaders to blame this tax on the GMA. They tell us we will be punished if we don’t comply. However, in this case the GMA doesn't require a specific funding ordinance for storm water. Even so, the Council seems unwilling to cut any waste from their $53 million budget to prove to us that there actually is some big storm water issue to solve. So the Unpopular Flawed Ordinance (UFO) is just floating around looking for a problem.