After decades of effort, the voluntary, collaborative approach to restoring the health and vitality of the Chesapeake Bay— the largest estuary in the United States—has not worked and, in fact, is failing. A diverse group of 57 senior scientists and policymakers have joined forces to save the Bay. This is our plan.

Goodlatte Again Attempts to Block Bay Restoration Efforts

(Posted by Gerald Winegrad)

In his continuing efforts to undermine Chesapeake Bay restoration, Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) has introduced HR 4153 along with Rep. Tim Holden (D-Penn.). The legislation is another attempt to prevent the EPA from implementing the long-awaited, court-ordered Chesapeake Bay restoration plan known as the Chesapeake TMDL (total maximum daily load). The pollution diet under the TMDL was necessitated by the Bay states’ repeated failures over decades to meet agreed upon reductions for nutrient and sediment pollutants so as to clean-up the 90% of the Bay that is so polluted that the Clean Water Act is violated.

As Doug Siglin, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Congressional affairs guru said in a statement,

“Congressman Goodlatte’s bill would undermine the pollution limits currently in place, derail clean-up efforts, and undercut the federal government’s role in making sure that all Americans have access to clean, swimmable, fishable waters. The federal government has a key role to play in the restoration of local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay, and we urge all members of Congress to steer well clear of this damaging legislation.”

Reps. Goodlatte and Holden appear to be handmaidens of the farm lobby as the legislation raises some of the very issues the American Farm Bureau and national lobbying arms of the grain and poultry industries have used to try and block Bay restoration plans in their federal law suit.

In February 2011, Rep. Goodlatte succeeded in attaching an amendment to the must-pass FY2011 continuing resolution to fund the federal agencies that would have prevented the EPA from implementing the Bay pollution diet under the TMDL. Our Senior Scientists and Policymakers for the Bay interceded and prepared and sent a letter to Congress on behalf of 60 Bay leader signatories opposing this outrageous effort. (See previous post: Goodlatte Amendment Is a Travesty for the Bay.)

These leaders include two former Governors, a former U.S. Senator, a former Congressman, current and former State Senators, a current County Council member, two former secretaries of Natural Resources from Virginia and Maryland, a former Secretary of the Maryland Department of Environment, top senior Bay scientists and conservation leaders. These signatories include Democrats and Republicans.

The amendment was rejected in the Senate and did not become law. (See previous post: Congressman Goodlatte and You.)

Now, we must fight yet another attempt to destroy ongoing efforts to once and for all clean-up the Bay and meet federal Clean Water Act requirements. We need to let Congress know that it is well past the time to face up to the reality of the need for ramped-up efforts to restore this great estuary.

If you disagree with this harmful legislation, tell Rep. Goodlatte how you feel by leaving him a message on his Facebook page, or
sending him a Tweet, to @repgoodlatte.

Let him know how you feel.

Gerald Winegrad is a former Maryland state senator and chairman of Senior Scientists and Policymakers for the Bay.

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