Protect our Nation's river - take action now!
Like many of you, we seek a future where the Potomac River is swimmable and our fish are healthy. Unfortunately, a bill introduced by Representatives Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Tim Holden (D-PA) would effectively block us from reaching that visionary future by rolling back protections made under the Clean Water Act for the Chesapeake Bay, and by extension, our precious Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers.
The "Chesapeake Bay Program Reauthorization and Improvement Act" (H.R. 4153) is not at all as pleasant as it sounds. It undermines this country's landmark environmental legislation, the 40 year old Clean Water Act, by putting the bay's pollution limits in the hands the states with no federal safeguards to ensure that the limits lead to clean water. This harkens back to a time when the President called the Potomac a national disgrace. Do we really want to go back there?
The Chesapeake Dirty Water Act does the following:
- Places the authority to establish limits for the Bay’s multi-state pollution diet, the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), entirely in the hands of individual Bay states themselves. This would turn 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. If the Chesapeake Bay states aren’t coordinated, 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 allows polluters to meet permit limits by paying someone else to do their work. The proposed pollution trading program offers no safeguards for local water quality.
- 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.
H.R. 4153 is not the solution to cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay. It not only upends a decades-long collaborative process to address the pollution flowing into the Bay, but sets a dangerous precedent to weaken Clean Water Act protections across the country.
Take action today and call on your Congressional representative to protect the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers!
Thank you for your help,
Ed Merrifield, Potomac Riverkeeper
Jeff Kelble, Shenandoah Riverkeeper