Va. governor voices support for bay bill favored by farmers

RICHMOND—Gov. Bob McDonnell has voiced support for H.R. 5509, the Chesapeake Bay Program Reauthorization and Improvement Act.

In an Aug. 9 letter to the bill’s sponsors, Reps. Tim Holden of Pennsylvania and Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, McDonnell applauded the bill’s bipartisan efforts to address water quality in the bay.

The governor called the bill’s approach to cleanup "the right path forward to continue the fight to preserve and protect the Chesapeake Bay Watershed."

H.R. 5509, he continued, "provides practical, common-sense tools that balance the needs of our local communities—agriculture, business, and local governments—with the environmental needs of the Chesapeake Bay. I am also pleased that this legislation expands and promotes voluntary conservation measures that have proved the most successful in controlling nutrient and sediment runoff into the bay."

McDonnell praised the bill’s recognition that cleaning up the bay will require flexibility of regulation. "This will allow us in the Commonwealth and other Chesapeake Bay Watershed states to better tailor our approach to achieving water quality," he wrote, "as opposed to being dictated by a rigid one-size-fits-all approach by the EPA."

State Farm Bureaus in the bay watershed, including Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, have voiced support for the bill as well.

VFBF President Wayne F. Pryor said H.R. 5509 "sets the framework for making improvements to water quality in the bay and its tributaries without dictating practices that would threaten family farm operations or the viability of Virginia agriculture."

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

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