Approved Amendment Strips EPA's Role in Chesapeake Bay Cleanup E - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Approved Amendment Strips EPA's Role in Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Efforts

Posted: Jul 20, 2018 4:27 PM Updated:

EASTON, Md. - The future of the Chesapeake Bay rests in the hands of U.S. Congress as the Senate prepares to vote on a 2019 budget bill, also known as the Interior, Environment, Financial Services, and General Government Appropriations Act of 2019.

In the bill is an amendment that would strip the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to hold the six watershed states accountable in Bay cleanup efforts. On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 213-202 in favor of the amendment and 217-119 in favor of the bill itself.

Now passed, environmentalists like Alan Girard of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, worry the Bay's improving health is at stake.

"This House vote undermines all of that," Girard said. "It really undermines that accountability and threatens the progress for crabs, oysters, clean water for future generations."

But watermen like Rob Newberry of the Delmarva Fisheries Association says it's a wake up call to unnecessary spending and overregulation.

"I think the federal government is starting to realize the spending is not helping. Someone has got to prove to us how all this money in the Choptank River complex especially has helped the industry. I haven't seen it and no one else has," Newberry said.

Congressman Andy Harris-R, who voted against the amendment but in favor of the bill, says he's hopeful state leaders will keep each other accountable.

"In the end, we may have to count on the governors being together. We have a favorable governor in New York and Pennsylvania who I think will cooperate," Harris said. "I think there would be much more concern if those governors weren't there to cooperate with the cleanup efforts."

Harris says he's unsure if the Senate will approve of the amendment and bill.


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