Petition signatures against stormwater fee flowing in

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Opponents of a controversial stormwater runoff fee are taking yet another avenue in their attempts to halt that fee.

They hope that avenue will lead to Pennsylvania Avenue directly to the White House. The goal of that fee is to reduce pollution that enter our waterways like the Susquehanna River.

Opponents of the stormwater runoff fee, also known as the “rain tax”, are trying to capture the attention of President Trump. The hope is that he can halt the fee with a single stroke of his pen.

“I don’t think it’s a fair tax. There are places like south of New York dumped thousands of gallons into the river they don’t pay nothing yet,” Bill Harlen said.

70-year-old Bill Harlen from Edwardsville thinks the stormwater runoff fee should go away. So do people like Frank Scavo. He is the executive director of the group known as Taxpayer Power. Its sole mission is to halt the fee.

“What’s happening the MS4, the rain tax, is across America. It’s a 5 state initiative,” Scavo said.

President Obama signed an executive order in 2009 creating the program aimed at reducing pollution entering the nation’s waterways. In our part of the world, it is aimed at creating projects to reduce pollution from entering the Chesapeake Bay.

Residents and businesses pay a fee for the amount of water that leaves their property. Taxpayer Power hopes to convince President Trump to rescind President Obama’s executive order.

“Here in Luzerne County, we started an online petition at the White House so what happens is you get 100,000 people to sign the petition then the White House will officially look at your complaint in an official capacity,” Scavo explained.

Bill Harlen was unaware of the petition until we asked him about it.

“I would do it. Tell me how I can get on. Do you know how I would get on?” said Harlen.

They have to hit 100,000 signatures by March 9th. As of Thursday night they have just over a thousand signatures.

Also this week, the Luzerne County Council approved a resolution that paves the way for possible legal action to try to halt the fee.

A link to the petition can be found here.

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