Goodlatte amendment could gut Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint

congressA Bob Goodlatte-sponsored amendment that passed the House on Thursday would effectively keep the EPA from using federal funds in the event that a state fails to meet its obligations under the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint.

The amendment was made to H.R.  6147, the Interior, Environment, Financial Services, and General Government Appropriations Act of 2019. The language of the bill would prohibit the EPA from spending money to provide firm accountability if states fail to implement the plans each developed to restore local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay.

The final vote was 213 in favor and 202 opposed.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William C. Baker issued the following statement after the vote.

“With this amendment, the House voted to undermine the Bay states and what stands to be the greatest environmental success story of our time: Saving the Chesapeake Bay.

“The Chesapeake Bay Blueprint is a partnership among the watershed states and EPA to meet the requirements of the Clean Water Act and restore the Bay after years of failed attempts. And it’s working because it has teeth that previous efforts lacked. Bay grasses are at record levels, the dead zone is getting smaller, and oysters are beginning to rebound.

“Only EPA can enforce the agreement if a state fails to meet its commitments. By suspending this authority, the Goodlatte Amendment threatens progress being made and the legacy of oysters, crabs, and clean water for future generations.

“Rejecting the Bay states wishes by gutting the Blueprint’s accountability is shortsighted. CBF will work with the Bay region’s Senators to ensure that the Goodlatte amendment is not included in their appropriations legislation.”

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