Towanda, PA (May 23, 2007)- A proposal in pending new farm legislation, with co-sponsorship in the House by Rep. Chris Carney of the 10th District, and in the Senate by Sen. Bob Casey Jr., would provide for more equitable funding while promoting cleaner water and air through conservation measures.
The Chesapeake Healthy and Environmentally Sound Stewardship of Energy and Agriculture Act of 2007 is aimed, as its name suggests, at meeting environmental targets that are necessary to reverse the degradation of Chesapeake Bay. But those measures also would do a great deal to improve farm economics, along with air and water quality, in all of the states that drain into the bay.
The bill would increase, from $1.3 billion to $2 billion, a program known as EQIP, which funds vital conservation practices, the most important of which is animal waste management. Additional funding of $175 million would be targeted at additional water quality programs, with $43 million of that going to Chesapeake Bay states.
The federal funding, coupled with required matching funds from the affected states, would enable farms to reduce, by about 65 million pounds a year, the amount of nitrogen entering the bay, nearly 60 percent of the goal for overall nitrogen reduction.
Since the conservation strategy also promotes use of farm waste for alternative energy, tree planting to protect streams, and the restoration of wetlands, the program also would serve an array of environmental goals beyond bay restoration, and do a good deal to improve local water quality in reservoirs and wells, and general environmental conditions.
The Daily & Sunday Review
Rep. Chris Van Hollen
Rep. Chris Carney
Sen. Bob Casey