WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD-7) and Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD4) all participated today in a joint hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) and House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee. During the bicameral hearing, the three Maryland lawmakers highlighted the importance of the “Waters of the U.S.” rule to a healthy Chesapeake Bay. They all had an opportunity to ask question of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy, particularly on the need to clarify the parameters of the Clean Water Act since the Supreme Court Rappanos decision.
“Everyone needs clean water. The difficulty comes in keeping it clean,” said Senator Cardin. “Maryland’s work uniting stakeholders to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed has been a national model. But no matter how strong our efforts are, Maryland is downstream. More than 90% of Maryland’s waterways are interstate waters. The Clean Water Act is what protects Marylanders from potentially weak water protection laws in our neighbor states and the potential bad actors who pollute the water before it flows to Maryland. Clear, uniform federal guidance is needed to make sure that our environment, economy, and public health are made stronger by abundant access to clean water.”
“One of my highest priorities is supporting the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay,” Congressman Cummings said. “The Chesapeake Bay is one of – if not the most – studied bodies in the world. We understand in great detail how nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediments enter the Bay from the run-off that flows across impervious surfaces, through eroding urban streams and aging storm sewers, and across farm fields. We do not need more study. We need to stop the inflows of pollutants harming the Bay and we need to ensure we have clean water throughout the nation.”
“Nearly 70% of Marylanders get their water from sources that rely on headwater or seasonal streams. The Clean Water Act and the Environmental Protection Agency are critical in the effort to protect streams and wetlands in Maryland and across the country,” said Congresswoman Edwards. “I am proud that Maryland joined over 30 states in asking the Supreme Court to uphold broad legal protections for small tributaries and their adjacent wetlands. They are among our most valuable natural resources, and I will continue to fight to ensure they receive the protections they deserve.”