New bill to fund Chesapeake Bay clean-up effort would guarantee funding for Delaware.
Delaware Senator Tom Carper (D) is supporting legislation that would reauthorize the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program and provide $1.5-billion to state’s in the Bay’s watershed, which includes Delaware.
Under the reauthorization, Delaware would be guaranteed to get federal money for its Bay restoration efforts for the first time in the history of the program. Carper says even though the First State doesn’t border the Chesapeake Bay, the state does have an impact on its water quality. “For us to be willing to take the steps to help reduce runoff and the contamination and pollution of the Chesapeake Bay, it sure would be nice for us to have some help,” says Carper.
Under the legislation, Delaware would get a guaranteed minimum of $2.5 to 3-million every year to establish the State Watershed Implementation Plan. The state would also be able to compete for $1.5-billion in grants to implement that plan.
Some of the state’s impact on the Bay comes from poultry waste runoff, and because of that, Carper has offered an amendment to the measure that would encourage the conversion of that waste into energy. “We don’t want the poultry litter to ultimately end up in the Delaware Bay or the inland bays or other streams in Delaware, or the Chesapeake Bay, and we have a smart plan that’s been in place for about ten years.” Carper says his amendment would help farmers meet water quality guidelines and encourage renewable energy production. “We know there’s BTU value, energy value, in this poultry litter. Let’s see if we can extract it and do it in a way that’s energy efficient, environmentally safe, and provide some income for the farmers.”