Monday, September 11, 2017

House Threatens to Curb Bay Diet

House moves to keep EPA from enforcing Bay pollution diet
In a move that environmentalists charged would undermine the Chesapeake Bay cleanup effort, the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to bar the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from taking action against any state in the Bay watershed that fails to meet pollution reduction goals set by the EPA six years ago.

The measure, an amendment to an EPA and Interior Department spending bill put forward by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-VA, passed Thursday night by a largely party line vote of 214 to 197. Goodlatte, who has pushed unsuccessfully before to block the EPA from enforcing its Bay “pollution diet,” said three GOP House members from Pennsylvania — G.T. Thompson, Bill Shuster and Scott Perry — joined him in introducing the amendment.

The 40 House members whose districts include a portion of the Bay watershed split evenly on the controversial issue – 19 voted for it, 19 against, including six Republicans. The Bay watershed delegations in Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia overwhelmingly supported curbing the EPA’s authority, while those from Maryland, Virginia and Delaware did not. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-MD, who would have opposed the amendment, missed the vote on medical leave. And Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-District, does not have a vote.

In a statement issued after the House vote, Goodlatte said his amendment was needed to prevent a “federal power grab” over the Bay cleanup effort.
Note that this vote is not along party lines; New York is relentlessly blue, Pennsylvania and West Virginia purple. It is more of a case of who benefits. Virginia, Maryland, and to a less extent Delaware benefit most from the Bay cleanup, Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia pay for improvements that they are close enough to benefit much from.

There is a federalism problem with the "Bay Diet". The state created the federal government for their own purposes, but now the feds claim the right to "punish" the states if they don't spend money and penalize their citizens for the benefit of other states.

I don't have an answer, just an observation that making the package sweeter for the upstream states probably needs to be part of the solution.

No comments:

Post a Comment