Cummings Introduces Bill To Clean Chesapeake Bay

October 20, 2009
Press Release

October 20, 2009  


Cummings Introduces Bill To Clean Chesapeake Bay
 HR 3852 creates new pollutant control and accountability program to aid in Bay restoration.


(Washington, DC) – Congressman Elijah E. Cummings today introduced H.R. 3852, the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act of 2009. The bill reauthorizes the Chesapeake Bay Program and will amend the Clean Water Act to reduce the amount of pollutants entering the Bay.

The bill defines the responsibilities of governments throughout the Bay watershed, at the federal, state and local levels. Though some pollution has been lessened through the application of the Clean Water Act and through voluntary agreements among the watershed states, the new law will improve the study and control of the pollutants that continue to harm the Chesapeake, particularly nitrogen, phosphorous and sediments. It will also create accountability for both polluters and the government agencies working to reduce pollutant levels.

“We understand with great clarity what is harming the Bay,” said Cummings at a press conference Monday. “We know the sources of the nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediments that flow into the Bay and we understand how they destroy the Bay’s fragile ecosystem. We also know that controlling and reducing these pollutants is absolutely essential if the Bay is to thrive again.”

The bill is co-sponsored by Reps. Connolly, Van Hollen, Sarbanes, Moran (Va.), Edwards, Holmes Norton, Bernice Johnson, Scott and Hoyer.

The bill improves the Clean Water Act by providing authority to create, begin, and assess control of ongoing pollution sources, including municipal, agricultural, and industrial sources.  Specifically, H.R. 3852:

  • Requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to complete its development of a total maximum daily amount of pollutants that can flow into the Bay;
  • requires states within the Bay’s watershed to design and implement detailed plans outlining the steps that they will take to achieve the required reductions in pollutants;
  • requires states to provide updates on the implementation of their plans every two years;
  • requires EPA to impose penalties on those states that do not develop or implement their plans to reduce pollution levels;
  • increases federal funding to support states’ overall implementation of the program; and
  • provides billions to strengthen control of discharges from municipal storm sewer systems and agricultural non-point sources.