House to vote on measure blocking EPA's Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan
Ben Pershing writes on the Virginia Politics blog that the House is expected to vote as early as Friday on a measure that would delay the Environmental Protection Agency's Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan, sparking debate between agricultural and environmental groups and splitting the Virginia and Maryland congressional delegations in the process.
The amendment, authored by Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R-Va.), would be attached to the massive continuing resolution being debated by the House that would fund the government from March 4 through the end of September. The amendment says that no money in the bill "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."
Goodlatte is seeking to block a landmark proposal unveiled by the EPA in December that outlines what six states and the District must do by 2025 to clean up the Chesapeake, which absorbs pollution from farms, cities and sewage plants all over the region. The plan would put the bay on a "pollution diet" by putting limits on the "total maximum daily load" of chemicals that can flow into it.
Goodlatte, whose 6th Congressional District stretches from Strasburg to Roanoke in rural western Virginia, told his House colleagues in a letter distributed this week that the EPA's regulations would be economically "devastating" to local governments and farmers, because the cost of compliance would be so high.
Goodlatte's amendment will be strongly opposed by many Democrats, including Rep. James Moran (Va.), the top Democrat on the appropriations subcommittee that funds most environmental programs. Moran noted that Goodlatte, as the top Republican on the Agriculture Committee, had "passed a number of bills that aided in efforts to protect the Chesapeake Bay" and said he applauded those actions.
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