The Dernogalizer

July 1, 2010

The Chesapeake Clean Water Act Passes Committee After Weakening

Filed under: environment,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 1:18 pm
Tags: , ,

Maryland  Senator Ben Cardin and Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings legislation “The Chesapeake Clean Water Act” came up before the Senate Environment and Public Works committee yesterday.  Below is an e-mail I received from the Maryland League of Conservation Voters on this legislation before the vote.  The outcome of the legislation in the committee is below the e-mail.

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Dear Matt,

Today, the Environment and Public Works Committee in the U.S. Senate is considering the Chesapeake Clean Water Act and, if all goes well, sending it to the floor of the Senate for a vote. This bill, introduced by our own Senator Ben Cardin and Representative Elijah Cummings, addresses lingering sources of pollution plaguing the Chesapeake Bay and provides a true integrated partnership of federal, state and local governments that must work together to achieve everyone’s goal of clean water.

Passing a bill out of committee is just one step — but an important one.

Please stay tuned as we pass on the fate of this important legislation in the next day or two.

Cindy Schwartz
Executive Director
Maryland LCV Education Fund

P.S. Please pass this along to your friends and family.

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The bill passed out of the panel, but not before some weakening…

“Only after some significant concessions did Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin see his controversial plan to strengthen Chesapeake Bay cleanup initiatives approved Wednesday by a Senate panel. In an exercise that could be regarded as bipartisanship statecraft, the measure was toned down to remove code-specific pollution limits for nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment. In deleting language that detailed so-called Total Maximum Daily Loads, or TMDLs, Democrat Cardin was able to win Republican support to advance his ambitious measure to the full Senate. The House, where things are always a bit more tempestuous, has yet to act on a companion measure.”

“Despite the “watering down” of this water bill, Cardin’s measure remains quite strong. In all, some $2 billion in grants would be used to address pollution concerns. The Environmental Protection Agency would also have a redefined role, winning authority to withhold federal funds under the Clean Water Act as a way to prod states into implementing their pollution-reduction plans. The measure would also impose new conservation restrictions on commercial and residential development in the Chesapeake’s watershed to limit stormwater runoff.

A 2025 deadline for hitting pollution reduction targets was also preserved Wednesday, as was language requiring states to develop Watershed Implementation Plans and strengthening a nutrient pollution trading program. The farming community mostly opposes the somewhat over-reaching intentions of such Watershed Implementation Plans, so more debate lies ahead.”

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