Wa­ters need to be pro­tected

Cecil Whig - - OPINION -

FROM: EM­METT DUKE & IS­ABEL HARDESTY GE­ORGE­TOWN

On Wed­nes­day, July 13, The U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives voted to ap­prove the Good­latte Amend­ment to the De­part­ment of the In­te­rior, En­vi­ron­ment, and Re­lated Agen­cies Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Act — an ill-con­ceived amend­ment that es­sen­tially guts the au­thor­ity of the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency to ex­ert any pres­sure on states that are fall­ing short of clean wa­ter restora­tion goals.

In a show of unity for clean wa­ter, all eight mem­bers of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Maryland voted against the amend­ment. We want to pub­licly thank the Maryland Con­gres­sional Del­e­ga­tion for their sup­port of a clean Ch­e­sa­peake Bay and we urge our friends and neigh­bors to thank them as well.

The Clean Wa­ter Act man­dated that each state in the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Wa­ter­shed pro­duce a sci­ence-based To­tal Max­i­mum Daily Load (TMDL) — now re­ferred to as the Pol­lu­tion Diet — of sed­i­ment, ni­tro­gen and phos­pho­rus.

The Sas­safras River As­so­ci­a­tion, the Ch­ester River As­so­ci­a­tion, and many other gov­ern­ment and non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions have been work­ing tire­lessly to as­sist Maryland in meet­ing our Pol­lu­tion Diet goals. The other states in the Bay Wa­ter­shed — Penn­syl­va­nia, West Vir­ginia, New York, Delaware, Vir­ginia, and the Dis­trict of Columbia — are also work­ing to re­duce pol­lu­tion, but EPA must have fed­eral over­sight to en­sure all states are suf­fi­ciently do­ing their part.

The bill will now go to the Se­nate and then to Con­fer­ence Com­mit­tee. We will ad­vo­cate for the de­feat of the Good­latte Amend­ment in both bod­ies. Thank you to the Maryland Con­gres­sional Del­e­ga­tion, who has acted on be­half of all of us who love the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay.

Capt. Em­mett Duke is the Sas­safras River­keeper. Is­abel Hardesty is the Ch­ester River­keeper.

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