Monday, October 31, 2011

Industries and local governments steering debate over EPA plan to clean up Chesapeake Bay

As local impacts of the Environmental Protection Agency's plan to clean up Chesapeake Bay become clearer, state and local governments and polluting industries are out-lobbying environmentalists who have campaigned for a bay cleanup for decades, Paul Quinlan of Environment & Energy Daily reports. (Map: Chesapeake Bay watershed)

Agriculture and homebuilding industries recently filed a lawsuit against against EPA arguing the agency overstepped its legal authority. "Pollution-reduction targets are too ambitious and ill-timed," the industries argue, and the expensive mandates will overstrain farmers and homebuilders already struggling financially, Quinlan reports. Republican industry allies are attempting to block the EPA plan by attaching policy riders to spending bills.

The Conservation, Energy and Forestry Subcommittee of the House Agriculture Committee will review the issues, specifically the plan's impact on rural communities, at 10 a.m. Thursday in Room 1000 of the Longworth House Office Building. (Read more)

The local attitudes toward the plan are reflected in part by Cheryl Mattix of Maryland's Cecil Whig, who writes, "Cecil County citizens will learn for the first time Tuesday that a new state mandate aimed at cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay could be cleaning out their wallets instead. The culprit," she writes without mentioning EPA, is the state's implementation plan. (Read more)

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