The Bay Restoration Fee, more commonly known as the "flush tax," does more than help clean up the Chesapeake Bay ("O'Malley grilled on green agenda," Feb.15). This money is used to update Maryland's wastewater and sewage treatment plants. Maryland's drinking water is put at risk when wastewater is leaked from outdated pipes and systems into our waterways. The flush tax is used to fix these leaking pipes and upgrade a system that is decades old.
The sliding tax that is proposed in Gov.Martin O'Malley's legislation will help to promote water conservation. Those that use less, pay less. It is unfair for conservative users to pay just as much as large scale users. Wastewater treatment is a commodity and must be priced accordingly. Adjusting the rates for the Bay Restoration Fee will do just that.
Upgrading Maryland's wastewater treatment facilities is absolutely necessary and a proven way to reduce pollution to the bay. If businesses and large water consumers do not pay their own share, the cost of making necessary upgrades to wastewater facilities will be passed on to individuals. Updating the structure of the flush fee is fair and necessary for the health of the Chesapeake, and for Maryland's citizens.
Tiffany Tembreull, Baltimore
The writer is a field organizer for Environment Maryland.