Congress Members Demand Answers from EPA on Whether It’s ‘Backing Away’ from Role Enforcing Chesapeake Bay Cleanup

January 10, 2020
In The News

Six U.S. senators and more than a dozen members of Congress are demanding the Environmental Protection Agency take “immediate steps” to show the agency will hold states accountable to a Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan, and gave it two weeks to answer questions about whether the Trump administration is “backing away from its statutory obligations” to see that the bay’s health is restored.... In a letter being sent to EPA on Friday, provided to The Baltimore Sun, the Democrats demanded answers by Jan. 24 to a set of questions with the same theme: Will the Trump administration force states in the bay’s watershed to meet pollution reduction targets they agreed to in a 2010 pact? ... Their fears stem from recent comments by an EPA official that the cleanup blueprint is “aspirational” and not “enforceable,” which have stirred confusion and fear among bay advocates. They also prompted Gov. Larry Hogan this week to pursue a lawsuit against the EPA and Pennsylvania, which, of all the six states in the bay watershed plus the District of Columbia, is farthest from meeting its pollution reduction goals.... The lawmakers who signed the letter include all of Maryland’s delegation to Washington except for Rep. Andy Harris, a Republican: Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, and Reps. John Sarbanes, Steny Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, Anthony Brown, David Trone and Jamie Raskin. Others who signed include all four senators from Virginia and Delaware and eight Congress members representing those states and the District of Columbia.