擔任小組主席的德州眾議員薔森（Eddie Bernice Johnson）在開場致辭中表示，「這些技術不是改造雨水收集系統來加大所能承載的雨水量，而是用低衝擊的發展方式，應用科技直接降低流入系統中的雨水。」
Green technologies for controlling urban stormwater runoff took center stage Thursday at the nation's Capitol, as the House Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee heard testimony on how to reduce barriers to adopting these methods of reducing runoff.
"Instead of engineering the stormwater system to deal with increasingly large amounts of stormwater, these low impact development approaches utilize technologies that aim to reduce the amount of stormwater that even enters the system," said Subcommittee Chair Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas in her opening statement.
"This is achieved through processes that encourage enhanced infiltration and evaporation processes. Simple approaches such as green roofs, increased tree cover, disconnecting downspouts, and adding more green space can go a long way to reducing the amount of stormwater that enters sewers. And in some circumstances, these technologies can realize significant cost savings for municipalities and building owners," she said.
The subcommittee set out to learn what barriers exist with regards to the increased adoption of green infrastructure technologies and approaches and what the federal government – both EPA and Congress – do to reduce those barriers.
The need to do something quickly is becoming urgent, Congressman James Oberstar told the hearing. "Fifteen years after EPA promulgated its Combined Sewer Overflow rules, and over eight years since this Congress codified that policy, CSOs remain a significant source of water impairment throughout the United States," said Oberstar, who chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, of which this subcommittee is a part.
"Over 740 communities, most located in New England, around the Great Lakes, along the Ohio River, and in the Pacific Northwest, use combined sewers," "Amazingly, not all of these have finalized their CSO Long Term Control Plans that will lead these cities to mitigate these harmful CSO events. As a result of these events, pathogens and toxins continue to impair our waters, unchecked," he said.
To control their stormwater runoff, cities such as Chicago and Portland, Oregon are building deep tunnels that cost billions and take many years to complete. Simultaneously, population growth is increasing impervious surfaces in urban areas at a faster rate than that of the national population, Oberstar said.
"This will place increasing costs, for stormwater control, on municipal governments. In addition, we can expect some regions of the country to have more frequent and more intense rainfall as a result of climate change. These communities will be under increasing stress – financial and environmental – in dealing with stormwater in the years to come," he said.
The Obama administration is interested in solving water pollution problems, Oberstar said, and will fund these solutions under the economic stimulus package signed into law in February.
Working its way through Congress is another source of funding, he said. If enacted, H.R. 1262, the Water Quality Investment Act of 2009, will provide "desperately needed financial resources for states and communities to address their CSO needs."