|January 20, 2011: Wittman Introduces Chesapeake Bay Clean-up Legislation|
Washington, DC – Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-1) has reintroduced the Chesapeake Bay Accountability and Recovery Act (H.R. 258), to continue his efforts to fundamentally alter the management of Chesapeake Bay restoration activities.
"America’s First District is historically, economically and culturally tied to the water, especially the Chesapeake Bay,” Wittman said. “Since coming to Congress, the restoration of the Bay has been one of my highest priorities. Currently, multiple agencies and groups share concerns about the Bay, but are not adequately working together. This bill will bring them together. Last Congress we reached an important milestone by passing this legislation in the House and it is my hope we can again, and then focus on passage in the Senate. I will continue to push for Bay restoration and for the federal government to do its part in protecting and restoring the Bay for now and for future generations.”
Wittman's legislation would fully implement two cutting edge management techniques, crosscut budgeting and adaptive management, to enhance coordination, flexibility and efficiency of restoration efforts. These techniques have been used successfully in the Everglades and the Great Lakes; however, they have not been fully implemented in Bay restoration efforts, where results have lagged far behind the billions of dollars spent. Additionally, the legislation would create a Chesapeake Bay Program Independent Evaluator to review and report to Congress on restoration activates in the watershed. The Chesapeake Bay partnership includes 10 federal agencies, six states and the District of Columbia, over one thousand localities and multiple non-governmental organizations. To date, the complexity of the participants has resulted in a muddled effort. In drafting this legislation, Congressman Wittman drew heavily on his 23 years of experience as a shellfish specialist monitoring water quality and environmental health issues in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
The Chesapeake Bay Accountability and Recovery Act of 2009 passed the House in the fall of 2009, but did not reach passage in the Senate.
Wittman’s legislation has received endorsements from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Virginia Seafood Council:
"The Virginia Seafood Council strongly supports Congressman Wittman's Chesapeake Bay Accountability and Recovery Act that will implement Bay restoration programs that have proven to be effective as well as provide a conduit to ensure accountability among agencies that are tasked with Bay restoration activities." -Virginia Seafood Council
“Congressman Wittman has long been a champion of the Chesapeake, and we look forward to working with him to pass this and other legislation important to Bay restoration. We just heard him address a Bay restoration conference and he was tremendously enthusiastic about finding solutions to the Bay’s problems. This legislation is a part of that solution.” -Chesapeake Bay Foundation