How will we pay for a cleaner bay?


Yes, we all agree that it is time to undertake the challenging work of restoring the health of the Chesapeake Bay and its vast 64,000-square-mile system of tributaries that reach as far north as New York and as far south as southern Virginia. The recent Times Dispatch poll demonstrated there’s no disagreement about the value of a healthy Chesapeake Bay and how its tributaries add to Virginia’s economy and quality of life. We all want to see the Bay’s full restoration — as an abundant source for food, as spiritual and artistic inspiration and as a place of family enjoyment.

Efforts to substantially improve Bay waters will not succeed unless major economic realities addressed through the development and effective implementation of cooperative financial strategies. And these strategies should not overburden the citizens of the six states (and the District of Columbia) that fall within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Late last year, the EPA finalized the first phase of its renewed initiative for improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay, a subject discussed on this blog... Gov. Bob McDonnell‘s administration estimated that Virginia’s full costs of complying with this initiative would be approximately $7 billion between 2011 and 2025. But EPA’s new rules come at a time when many local governments, just like the federal government, find it necessary to drastically reduce their budgets during the upcoming fiscal year.

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