New Amendment Cuts EPA Regulations on Chesapeake Bay Restoration

CAMBRIDGE, Md. - Bill Edwards has been a crabber for more than 50 years. From experience, he says the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts at restoring the Chesapeake Bay's health haven't been great.

"I can't see what they've done with all the rules and regulations," Edwards said. "I think it's overregulated."

But such regulations are tied to federal funding for restoration.

U.S. Congressmen Bob Goodlatte R-Va. is proposing the amendment to reduce funding the EPA would use to enforce those regulations.

"The EPA has basically given every state in the watershed an ultimatum," Goodlatte said.

Edwards agrees.

"I think it would be better for me," Edwards said.

Officials with the Delmarva Fisheries Assocation agree that the EPA should enforce less regulations. Instead, they say the focus should be on cleanup strategies from local government agencies.

But scientists say supporting the amendment could be bad news to progress already made to cleaning up the Bay.

Coastal Scientist, Dave Nemazie, says the amendment won't keep the six states, responsible for cleaning up the Bay, accountable.

"They're measuring whether they're taking those actions and if they're not taking those actions, the federal government has the right to enforce," Nemazie said.

Nemazie says if one state falls off track when it comes to cleaning up the Bay, more could follow.

"It puts a greater burden on the other states, which reduces the incentives for the other states," Nemazie said.

A burden that watermen like Edwards say should be handled at the state level not at the federal government.

"On the state level at least you know they're somebody you can talk to," Edwards said.

The amendment passed through the House and will head to the Senate next.






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