Monday, December 16, 2013

Opt Out for States in New Chesapeake Bay Plan?

Officials answered questions about the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement, which, as drafted, permits states to opt out of some restoration goals.
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A Nov. 8 draft of the agreement reads:

“Each signatory may exercise its discretion to participate in the development and implementation of individual outcomes’ management strategies depending upon relevance, resources, priorities or other factors.”
Needless to say, the possibility that some of the bay states could "go rogue" did not go down well with certain environmental groups.
“Our concern is if a worst-case scenario happens: if a state chooses to opt out of an action that is really meaningful,” said Kim Coble, vice president of environmental protection and research for the nonprofit Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

“There’s not really room for a state to say, ‘I’m not interested in that part of bay cleanup,’” Coble said.
A principle of government that defines the relationship between the central government at the national level and its constituent units at the regional, state, or local levels. Under this principle of government, power and authority is allocated between the national and local governmental units, such that each unit is delegated a sphere of power and authority only it can exercise, while other powers must be shared.

The term federalism is derived from the Latin root foedus, which means "formal agreement or covenant." It includes the interrelationships between the states as well as between the states and the federal government. Governance in the United States takes place at various levels and branches of government, which all take part in the decision-making process. From the U.S. Supreme Court to the smallest local government, a distribution of power allows all the entities of the system to work separately while still working together as a nation. Supreme Court Justice Hugo L. black wrote that federalism meant:
a proper respect for state functions, a recognition of the fact that the entire country is made up of a Union of separate State governments, and a continuance of the belief that the National Government will fare best if the States and their institutions are left free to perform their separate functions in their separate ways. (Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 91S. Ct. 746, 27 L. Ed. 2d 669 [1971])
The Constitution lists the legislative powers of the federal government. The Tenth Amendment protects the residual powers of the states: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

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