The Chickahominy Report

News about Earth, Atmosphere, Water, and Life

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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