Builders ask more time for bay pollution diet
Builders are looking to delay imposition of a strict pollution "diet" for the Chesapeake Bay, saying more time is needed to study it because of its "national implications, extremely high costs and technical complexity."
The National Association of Home Builders called on the Environmental Protection Agency to give the public 180 days to review and comment on the federal cleanup plan, instead of the 45 days provided. Federal regulators, who unveiled the draft plan Sept. 24, set an abbreviated comment period because they have pledged to finalize the plan by year's end.
EPA's "Total Maximum Daily Load" would impose limits on how much nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment can be discharge into the bay and its rivers in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Delaware, New York, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. The states have laid out plans to comply with the federal plan by setting limits of their own on farming, on sewage and rain water washing off city and suburban streets and lawns.
"The new TMDL will impose extraordinarily difficult regulatory requirements on the citizens who live in the Bay states," said NAHB Bob Jones, a home builder in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. "EPA has already announced that these plans are a blueprint for the rest of the nation, which is all the more reason to make sure the public has ample time to carefully study these proposals."
UPDATE: The Chesapeake Bay Foundation issued a statement opposing the builders' request, saying, "This is merely an attempt to delay and derail the clean-up process for short-term profit and narrow interests' benefit."
For more on the plan, go here.