Bipartisan effort aims to help farmers clean up Chesapeake Bay


p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto">Bipartisan effort aims to help farmers clean up Chesapeake Bay

By Agri-Pulse Staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, June 10 - To help farmers dealing with potentially burdensome regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Congressmen Tim Holden (D-PA), and Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), respectively Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Energy & Research, introduced the Chesapeake Bay Program Reauthorization and Improvement Act on Thursday.

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“The 2008 Farm Bill took significant steps to address water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed,” said Congressman Holden. “This new program builds upon that initiative to improve water quality and quantity; restore, enhance and preserve wildlife habitat without economic harm to our communities and producers.”

This bill will support ongoing efforts to reduce the pollution flowing into the Chesapeake Bay Watershed by providing agriculture producers the tools and certainty they need to implement conservation practices on their land and by giving all sectors the flexibility to meet their regulatory requirements under the Clean Water Act (CWA).

The Chesapeake Bay is the nation's largest and most diverse estuary. In the 2008 Farm Bill, Congress established a new Chesapeake Bay Watershed Program to help reduce nutrients and sediment that can flow into the Bay Watershed. That program has been very popular among landowners in the region and has built upon the ongoing work USDA and its partners have been undertaking. 

Although this effort is barely underway, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced new regulatory measures to reduce nitrogen, phosphors, and sediment going into the Chesapeake Bay Watershed through the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) process.

The bill would provide agriculture producers resources and certainty through an assurance program and establish guidelines for a regional trading system that will allow farmers and industry the ability to participate in Bay-wide trading program to help achieve reduction goals.

“Almost 200 miles long, the Chesapeake Bay is a wonderful resource, still beautiful and still teeming with life that we both harvest and appreciate, said Rep. Bob Goodlatte. “Unquestionably the Bay is in need and worthy of our attention and concern and I believe everyone has a role to play in restoring it.”

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