Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Clean Water Bill EPA Role We all Want Clean Water

This is from the following post "

This is not my work - but a very good article"

"Clean water bill might get shot down, bay group fears

At issue are statements by farm associations about Chesapeake Bay plan.

The head of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation is worried that the U.S. Senate might vote against what he deems the most significant piece of legislation ever written to protect the bay based on “inaccurate” statements from organizations representing farmers.
William Baker, president and CEO of the foundation, recently sent a letter to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in response to a letter that the American Farm Bureau Federation and other agricultural businesses and associations sent to all senators last month urging them to vote against any bills to which the Chesapeake Bay legislation is attached.
The federation letter said Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, might attempt to attach Senate Bill 1816, the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act, to a must-pass bill during the lame-duck session of Congress.

The legislation requires six states, including Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia, to submit plans to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to significantly reduce the discharge of phosphorus, nitrates and sediment into tributaries to the bay.
The methods of reduction are expected to mostly affect farmers, who expect that states will be forced to require them to implement costly conservation plans to reduce fertilizer and sediment runoff from their farms. The bill also provides cost-share funding to help farmers pay for implementation of their conservation efforts.
The federation letter states Senate Bill 1816 gives the EPA authority to regulate the flow of water and land use in states and can require state taxpayers to fund and implement “very stringent controls, without regard to cost or feasibility” after a state sends the EPA an implementation plan for nutrient and sediment reduction.
Baker responds that the bill does not automatically give the EPA authority or control currently reserved for states. The EPA can take responsibility for implementation of a plan only if a state voluntarily submitted a plan and then failed to meet its commitments. “And even then, should EPA step in, its actions are limited to those which the state had already agreed in its plan,” Baker wrote.
The federation claims the bill is not a regional bill that affects only six states “with only local consequences and only benign effect for the rest of the country.”

Baker responds that the bill is regional, affecting only the section of the Clean Water Act that deals with the Chesapeake Bay."

Overall - my thoughts
1. The Chesapeake Bay Nutrient Program is making some unreasonable and non-science based recommendations - one example is the regulations related to nitrate-nitrogen - not just in agricultural waste.  In some cases, we are worrying about nittrates when they are not the growth limiting nutrient.

2. Ok - if PA does not figure out a way to implement an unfunded mandate -then EPA will . What?

3. Who how Chesapeake Bay - concentrate on Chesapeake Bay - a lot of development on the water, creating thermal pollution and much more.

4. I am all for sediment and phosphate control - this is critical- but if we are not ready to pay for the real price of milk and other foods - how can we ask the farmer to do more without being compensated.    Ok for Cost Share - how about the other half of the cost share come from the businesses in the Chesapeake Bay and other National Environmental Organizations.

5. How about all the existing developments with no stormwater management or infrastructure.

6. The bill does not have regional impact - when you impact agriculture this is a national impact. 

7. Also - are we ready for EPA (Federal Agencies) to control local land use and development.

8.Institute a ban on phosphorus cleaning agents within three years after the enactment of this Act- good - also we should implement a ban on phosphates for the sequestering in drinking water.

Just my thoughts - I am ok with improving stream quality and reducing impact and fixing problems. 

We could have used 11 million dollars from Pennvest to do a lot more than just provide drinking water to a few homes.

The Citizens should have clean, safe water, but citizens also have the right to make a living.  We will not get anywhere if we limit the cost of food, squeeze the farmer, so we get the side benefits.  The business community/environmental community in the Bay needs to work with the business community/environmental community in the watershed and solve this in some other form then top down regulation.

Senate Bill 1816

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