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Public Statements

Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

For the past 2 years, we've seen the administration and the Environmental Protection Agency take overzealous action in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, with the potential to dramatically affect jobs, the economy, and local government budgets throughout the six-State region.

The EPA has proposed arbitrary limits on the amounts of nutrients that can enter the Chesapeake Bay and how these nutrients enter the bay. At the same time, the EPA is seeking to expand their regulatory authority by seizing authority granted to the States and converting the bay's cleanup effort into a process that is a top-down approach with mandatory regulations.

These overzealous regulations will affect everyone who lives, works, and farms in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, and the cost of complying with these requirements will be devastating during our current economic downturn, resulting in many billions of dollars in economic losses to States, cities, towns, farms and other businesses, large and small.

The EPA's approach is far from the best approach to restore the Chesapeake Bay. I believe that each individual State and the localities in each State know better how to manage the State's water quality goals than the bureaucrats at the EPA.

I'm sure that there are some who wonder why what is happening in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed is important to their district. While EPA's unprecedented actions are starting in the Chesapeake Bay, they are coming to a watershed in your region of the country in your State. The EPA has stated in the document ``A Coming Together for Clean Water: EPA's Strategy for Achieving Clean Water'' that ``The EPA will use the Chesapeake Bay as a demonstration for strengthening total maximum daily load pollution-reduction plans. The Chesapeake Bay Watershed will be a model for watershed protection in other parts of the country.''

It is important that we in Congress tell the EPA to slow down. The EPA does not have the authority to micromanage States' water quality goals, and we must stop their power gap.

I want to be clear, we all agree more must be done to restore the bay, and this is not meant to cut off the good work that is happening in the bay watershed. We have made substantial investments to clean up the bay. This amendment will not stop work that is going on in the States or the voluntary programs managed by Federal agencies that work with those on the ground to restore water quality. What this amendment will do is stop the EPA's regulatory power grab. It will stop the EPA from taking over responsibilities that have traditionally been left to the States.


Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of my time to make two points.

First of all, the gentleman from Virginia is quite correct. The Chesapeake Bay is getting healthier, and that's a very, very good thing, all of which is happening as a result of the voluntary, incentivized, State-controlled regulation of this process. None of it has occurred under this TMDL provision that the gentleman from Maryland referred to, because of the fact that it is only now being imposed on farmers. They are very concerned about it, as are small cities and towns, as are homebuilders and others. This will have a devastating economic impact on the entire bay region, small cities and large included.

The second point is that we checked with the Department of Agriculture, and we checked with counsel on the Agriculture Committee. They agree that this restricts only those purposes described in the legislation related to the implementation of this language related to what the EPA is trying to do with their TMDL.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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