A vote for the Chesapeake Bay's future
Efforts by the new Republican-controlled House to cut spending carry important implications for the health of the vital Chesapeake Bay estuary.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - 20:47
The Chesapeake Bay watershed is a key area for government and commercial activities, such as fishing and tourism. (Photo: photofarmer/Flickr)
As the new Republican House of Representatives works to make deep cuts in spending for the rest of 2011, it is challenging the authority of the EPA on numerous fronts and forcing cuts in many programs designed to encourage better environmental quality.
One of these recently-passed measures was introduced by Virginia Congressman Bob Goodlatte. It stops the EPA from implementing a "pollution diet” for pollutants entering the Chesapeake Bay. This plan was the response to what the EPA saw as slow and inadequate progress by the relevant states in cleaning up the bay. The amendment to strip funding passed in the House 230 to 195, and was supported by freshman Congressman Scott Rigell. Congressman Rob Wittman opposed the measure, which was largely passed on a partisan vote.
This great watershed has many environmental problems. Runoff has compromised water quality, beach safety and wildlife populations. While supporters of Mr. Goodlatte's amendment cite the costs of implementing this EPA policy as a reason to restrain their efforts, this national initiative is seen by many as the last best chance at cleaning the Chesapeake Bay.