Dear Member of Congress,
As a supporter of Potomac Riverkeeper, I am writing to urge you to oppose the "Chesapeake Bay Program Reauthorization and Improvement Act" (H.R. 4153) introduced by Representative Goodlatte (R-VA) and Representative Holden (D-PA). Despite its misleading title, this bill would actually damage the health of the Chesapeake Bay and the communities that depend upon it.
Representative Goodlatte's bill represents the latest attempt to roll back Clean Water Act protections for our rivers, lakes, and streams:
• It turns back the clock on the Clean Water Act, allowing each state to set pollutant levels with no federal safeguards to ensure that the limits lead to clean water. The bill places the authority to establish limits for the Bay’s safety net on pollution, the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), entirely in the hands of individual Bay states. The Bay and our rivers will fall victim to a “race to the bottom” as states vie with each other to exempt industries or corporations from laws in order to lure one from another. Already, states and local governments have the authority for implementing their part of the pollution limits.
• Establishes a pollution trading program that offers no safeguards for local water quality. The bill further threatens local water quality by allowing developers to pollute local waters and instead meet stormwater requirements by reducing runoff anywhere else in the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed.
• The bill adds new layers of bureaucracy by requiring EPA to add a large and cumbersome 16-member Advisory Committee and a Trading Commission, and requiring cost but no benefit analysis.
I urge you to oppose the "Chesapeake Bay Program Reauthorization and Improvement Act" (H.R. 4153), which is not the solution to cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay or protecting and restoring our local rivers. It sets a dangerous precedent to weaken Clean Water Act protections across the country.