The Chickahominy Report

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House approves amendment to prohibit federal funding of Chesapeake Bay restoration plan

Rep. Bob Goodlatte

Rep. Bob Goodlatte

MECHANICSVILLE, Va. — The House voted late tonight to approve a budget amendment by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) that would prohibit federal funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay restoration plan.

Goodlatte’s amendment to the House continuing resolution (H.R. 1), mandates that “None of the funds made avail­able by this Act may be used to develop, pro­mul­gate, eval­u­ate, imple­ment, pro­vide over­sight to, or back­stop total max­i­mum daily loads or water­shed imple­men­ta­tion plans for the Chesa­peake Bay Watershed.”

The Washington Post reports that the amendment passed 230-195, with eight Democrats joining 222 Republicans voting in favor of the resolution and 15 Republicans joining 180 Democrats opposing it.

In urging Congress to vote against the measure, Goodlatte raised the boogeyman of an overreaching federal government planning to wreck the economy in favor of the environment.

The Post report said that Goodlatte wrote a letter to his House colleagues that the Bay restoration plan was a “demonstration” project.

“If the EPA has its way, your local communities will also have to find the money for these costly regulations,” he wrote. “Congress must tell the EPA we do not want this overregulation in the Chesapeake Bay or any other watershed.”

Ironically, given that the Clean Water Act mandates the cleanup of the nation’s waterways regardless of who gets to pay for it, Goodlatte’s amendment will place the funding burden squarely on the backs of state and local governments in the Bay watershed. According to the Clean Water Act, the EPA only has to set water quality standards—it does not have to pay the costs of achieving them.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William C. Baker issued the following amendment:

With this single budget amendment, the House has voted to undo 25 years’ worth of bi-partisan and broad-based efforts to save the Chesapeake Bay. EPA and the six watershed states have worked collaboratively to produce a set of pollution reduction plans that each state would implement as part of a federal/state partnership. This vote effectively removes the federal partner from the equation, placing the burden squarely on the shoulders of states, municipalities, and individuals. It is in direct contradiction to the best science in the world, which defines the Bay as a single system that must be managed as one.

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