December 07, 2009

SENATOR CARDIN TELLS FARMERS THAT HIS NEW BAY BILL WILL GIVE THEM MORE RESOURCES TO HELP SAVE THE BAY

The Senator Also Views O.C. Beach Erosion

OCEAN CITY, MD -- U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) today addressed the annual meeting of the Maryland Farm Bureau about his newly introduced Chesapeake Bay Ecosystem Restoration Act , S.1816.   He told farmers that, "The Bay is a National Treasure that we are committed to restoring and protecting and this new legislation will provide farmers with substantially more resources to help them implement conservation practices that will bring the Bay back to health."

 

He told members of the Maryland Farm Bureau that agriculture is Maryland's largest industry, but that farmers - nationally and in Maryland -- are facing difficult challenges that include rising land costs, growing development, increased regulation and international trade pressures.   He stressed that S. 1816 will help farmers meet many of these challenges.

 

  "The bill requires states for the first time to use 20 percent of their Environmental Protection Agency implementation grants to provide technical assistance to farmers," said Senator Cardin, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee.  "A recent analysis of the bill by the World Resources Institute found the interstate nutrient trading program would significantly reduce pollution in the Bay while generating between $45 million and $300 million in annual revenue for farmers in the watershed. Maryland farmers alone could see up to an additional $85 million dollars annually in trading income, according to the Institute.

 

"There is no question that the entire Bay watershed has been severely degraded and we need a strong commitment to restore and protect it for future generations.   To do that, we must institute a scientifically based cap on the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment allowed into our waterways.   But we also must provide states with flexibility to meet these caps, a reasonable time to achieve compliance and the resources that are needed to make compliance possible."

  

Senator Cardin was the chief Senate architect of the Chesapeake Watershed Initiative program in the Farm Bill, and he told the farmers that S.1816 builds on the Chesapeake Watershed Initiative, which provides an extra $5.1 million this year for conservation program assistance, $10 million in 2010 and $15 million by 2011.

 

Following Senator Cardin's speech to the Farm Bureau, he traveled with Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan and City Engineer Terry McGean to 145 th Street to view some of the heaviest beach erosion that occurred during the recent Nor'easter.    The Senator's FY2010 budget request of $2.9 million for Ocean City shoreline protection and restoration has been approved.