The Chesapeake Bay Accountability and Recovery Act of 2014 has cleared Capitol Hill and is headed to the president’s desk.Wow, essentially unanimous agreement by Democrats and Republicans in Congress. That's remarkable. But what does it actually do? According to the Congressional Budget Office.
The House of Representatives passed the measure with a 416–0 vote Wednesday. It unanimously passed in the Senate Dec. 2.
Once signed by President Obama, the act will create a large crosscut budget to increase accountability in Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts across the federal agencies, states, localities and organizations interested in preserving the estuary.
The budget, overseen by the Office of Budget and Management, will detail who is spending money on restoration efforts and where that money will be spent.
Rep. Rob Wittman, R–1st District, who first introduced legislation like this in 2008, said the Chesapeake Bay remains “one of our nation’s prized historic resources.”
H.R. 739 would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop, no later than one year after the bill’s enactment, a management plan for the Chesapeake Bay Program and restoration activities related to the bay. EPA would be required to update the management plan every two years. The legislation would require new financial reports on the Chesapeake Bay Program from the Office of Management and Budget and would require EPA to appoint an independent evaluator, who would review and report to the Congress on the plan.No wonder it was so easy to pass. It does almost nothing except give the EPA Bay Program another $1,000,000 annually to do what they should already be doing, managing and their own spending.
Based on information from EPA, CBO estimates that implementing this legislation would cost about $1 million annually over the 2014-2018 period, subject to the availability of appropriated funds. Enacting the bill would not affect direct spending or receipts; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
H.R. 739 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.