Thursday, February 17, 2011

Congressman Proposes to Axe Bay Cleanup Funds

The Bay News today is full of reports that a Virginia Congressman, Rep. Goodlatte (R-Starbucks) has opposed the use of federal funds...
...for the Environmental Protection Agency's Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan, claiming the organization has no authority under federal law to demand that farmers and localities make major upgrades to fight pollution.
Almost without exception, news coverage has been strongly negative:

Va. congressman seeks to block bay-cleanup funding - The Associated Press

Clean bay funding uncertain - The Delmarva Daily Times

Goodlatte: Chesapeake regulations cost region - The Northern Virginia Daily

Sierra Club criticizes Goodlatte - The Waynesboro News Virginian

Opinion: Continuing Resolution Protects Polluters, Leaves Clean Water Vulnerable - Choose Clean Water (Blog)

Blog: Republican Moves to Strip Funds for Chesapeake Bay Cleanup
The New York Times

Blog: Virginia congressman targets Bay ‘diet’ funding - The Baltimore Sun

Blog: Moran criticizes spending cuts to Chesapeake Bay Program - The Washington Examiner

Only the Delmarva paper is even reasonably close to the center on this, and you have to figure that a large part of their readership is involved with agriculture, which is facing major restrictions on agriculture as a part of the proposed Bay Clean up regulations.
I find myself torn.  I would desperately like to see the Bay cleaned up, but the track record for the federal government in the Bay is the past is execrable, regardless of the color of the administration in control.  The government seems to achieve being both heavy handed and ineffective effortlessly.

I am unmoved by numbers such as "22 million pounds of pollution per day"; most of that is sediment, and the fate of mountains is to wash down to the sea.  Clearly, man has increased that, but a significant fraction of that number is natural erosion.  Such numbers are misleading to the point of deception. 

And yet, there are nutrient and toxic pollution issues which need to be addressed.  Being a cynic can be such a burden.

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