Members of a tri-state legislative group from Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia known as the Chesapeake Bay Commission, met last week with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, to request more funding assistance from the federal government to meet the requirements outlined in an executive order issued by the President two years ago to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. Congress has not enacted the legislation authorizing the clean up and the House of Representatives recently voted to temporarily block EPA funding that would enable the EPA to enforce the requirements in the executive order. US Congressional Representatives on the Chesapeake Bay Commission from Maryland and Virginia, indicated that the two states have formed the Congressional Chesapeake Bay Watershed Caucus to advocate for bay clean up. Van Hollen News Release announcing Caucus
Commission members asked the EPA for money for an innovative technology fund but the main goal of the meeting was to make sure funding levels remain in tact for efforts already underway to reduce TMDLs and to ensure that new burdens are not placed on farmers. According to the Baltimore Sun’s B’More Green blog:
Commission members did press EPA and USDA to promise bay region farmers that if they take prescribed steps to reduce polluted runoff from their fields and animal feedlots they won’t face any additional regulation. They also insisted that federal facilities around the bay should be held to the same pollution reduction requirements the states have to meet now under the pollution diet, or total maximum daily load, established recently by EPA.
At their meeting at EPA headquarters Thursday, Jackson didn’t offer much encouragement about funding, but did seem eager to work with the states and overcome the rifts with farmers and others over the pollution reductions required under the diet. She acknowledged that a sore point has been the failure of the EPA plan to specifically acknowledge the pollution-control measures farmers have taken voluntarily that weren’t paid for with government funds. But she cautioned that the effectiveness of those and other “best management practices” for controlling polluted runoff need to verified, so farmers “don’t waste time on what’s not working.”