CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Tuesday, December 9, 2014, the House will consider S. 1000, the Chesapeake Bay Accountability and Recovery Act of 2014, under a suspension of the rules. S. 1000 was introduced on May 21, 2013 by Senator Mark Warner (D-VA). The bill passed the Senate on December 2, 2014 by unanimous consent. The House companion, H.R. 739, introduced by Representative Rob Wittman (R-VA), passed the House as part of H.R. 2954 on February 6, 2014 by a vote of 220-194. (See Roll Call #54).
Among other things, S. 1000 institutes transparency and accountability measures ensuring that both federal and state restoration funds are producing positive results. Specifically, S. 1000 requires: (1) the submission of a cross-cutting budget representing all agencies of jurisdiction; and (2) the appointment of an independent evaluator responsible for reviewing restoration activities and reporting to Congress.
The Chesapeake Bay supports more than 3,600 species of fish, plants and wildlife, and generates more than $1 billion in economic activity. It is one of the largest estuaries in the world. A number of federal agencies are involved in restoration activities around the Chesapeake Bay, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Park Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Because multiple federal and State agencies take part in various aspects of Chesapeake Bay restoration, coordination on projects and funding is not always apparent. In addition, while millions of tax dollars have been spent to improve the quality of the Bay, these funds are distributed among many agencies and departments. According to the Fiscal Year 2012 Progress Report, Chesapeake Bay restoration projects and programs funded by the federal government totaled more than $460 million in the fiscal year alone. The many federal and State Chesapeake Bay restoration programs lack a single comprehensive reporting system for the funding of these activities. This bill would bring much needed transparency and accountability.
The Senate bill includes language that states “no additional funds are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this Act.”
For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.