Green thumb down for compromised Bay bill
Environmentalists mostly still seem to be backing Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin's watered-down Chesapeake Bay cleanup bill, despite the concessions he made to get it out of committee a little over a week ago.
One who takes a dimmer view - or who is perhaps less shy about voicing it publicly - is Rena Steinzor, president of the Center for Progressive Reform and a professor at the University of Maryland School of Law.
Steinzor, in a post to the center's blog, contends that Cardin gave away too much in haggling with Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., to gain concessions for farmers in the bay watershed. She calls the resulting compromise "deeply flawed" and "an inexplicable throwback" that gives the Environmental Protection Agency no stronger authority to impose "total maximum daily loads," commonly known as "pollution diets," on the states and communities that drain into the bay and its tributaries.
Cardin spokeswoman Sue Walitsky countered that the legislation still "explicitly recognizes" EPA's authority to set pollution diets for the bay and all the tributaries. And among other things, it also imposes for the first time a drop-dead deadline on having all the needed cleanup actions in place by 2025. Even with revisions, Walitsky contends the bill "represents a huge step forwrard for restoration efforts."
"If indiividuals take the time to review the reported bill carefully, we think that they will agree," Cardin's spokeswoman concluded.
Of course, strong or not, to do anything the bill has to pass both Senate and House. That remains very much up in the air this election year. To follow the bill, and see the revised text when it's available, go here.