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Document Type

Comment

Abstract

The coastlines of the United States are composed of over 90,000 miles of estuarine waters and nearly 60,000 miles of ocean shoreline. The aesthetic allure and quality of life offered by this valuable national natural resource continues to catalyze explosive population migrations coastward, and demographic experts predict that up to seventy-five percent of the United States population will live, work, or vacation along the nation's shorelines within the next decade. Unfortunately, in most areas this increased use is sure to carry with it a substantial environmental price in the form of increased pollution. The stark reality of the current and future seaward migration is that it will have significant adverse effects on the fragile marine and coastal ecosystems that coastal communities depend on for industry, recreation, tourism and healthy living if affirmative steps are not immediately taken to control its impact. To complicate matters further, the "appropriate" steps are neither simple, clear-cut, nor, in many instances, agreed-upon, and their formulation and implementation will necessarily require a pooling of public and private resources, political consensus and synergistic behavior among state and local governments, private industry and the general citizenry if "sustainable urbanism" is ever to be achieved in coastal regions. This Comment concerns itself principally with an acute seasonal coastal pollution problem that has been historically ignored and chronically under-studied-seasonal storm and meltwater runoff in coastal cold weather urban municipalities-and how the implementation of recent federal stormwater rules, namely the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA' s) "Phase IF' stormwater regulations, affect cash-strapped state and local governments in watershed regions who are faced with competing policy concerns and unbalanced budgets. This Comment endeavors to provide an overview of the entire issue, first from a legal, then a technological, and, finally, from a policy perspective. However, in order to fully understand the breadth of this problem, and Congress's response to it, one must first gain a cursory understanding of the nature in which, because of variable weather and topographical patterns, toxic foreign substances are deposited within the ecosystem by way of storm and meltwater runoff, and, when deposited, how such substances affect coastal ecosystems. What follows is a brief introduction to the problem posed by stormwater runoff in general and an explanation of Congress's response.

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