Farmers to meet in Washington to discuss Chesapeake Bay

WASHINGTON—Thirty-five Virginia farmers will meet Sept. 23 with Virginia’s congressional delegation regarding a Chesapeake Bay cleanup bill currently before the U.S. Senate.

In the past few weeks Farm Bureau producer members statewide have participated in a letter-writing campaign to their U.S. senators and representatives in opposition to S. 1816, the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act.

Virginia Farm Bureau Federation and state Farm Bureaus in other bay watershed states have been vocal in their opposition to S. 1816. They assert that the bill takes a heavy-handed and ill-planned approach to improving water quality in the bay that could bring financial hardships on farmers and limit states’ abilities to plan for water and land uses.

"Virginia farmers are committed to doing our share to protect the bay; there is evidence of their ongoing efforts," said VFBF President Wayne F. Pryor. "It is, however, a long-term project, and we are opposed to S. 1816’s approach, because it looks like nothing so much as additional unfunded federal mandates for farms. We also are quite concerned about the authority that it would give the Environmental Protection Agency to approve and override state regulation in water quality issues."

Farm Bureau supports an alternate bill, H.R. 5509, the Chesapeake Bay Program Reauthorization and Improvement Act, which is sponsored by Reps. Tim Holden of Pennsylvania and Bob Goodlatte of Virginia.

"We are pleased to have this opportunity to meet with our elected officials and share our specific concerns," Pryor said.

Contact Wilmer Stoneman, VFBF associate director of governmental relations, at 804-290-1024.

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