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Topics: National News

Congress gets earful on Bay restoration strategies

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Local,Nation,Science and Technology,Congress,DC,Maryland,Virginia,Alana Goodman

Members of Congress heard proposals Thursday on how state and federal government authorities could help with the Chesapeake Bay and watershed restoration strategy.

During a working lunch, lawmakers met with members of the Chesapeake Bay Commission and environmental officials from Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. Bay task force officials said that the federal government could aid with the development of technologies that could turn manure into a power source, and help fund storm water runoff reduction projects.

The Environmental Protection Agency will release its finalized Chesapeake Bay and watershed restoration strategy this month, at the end of a public comment period. President Obama ordered the federal government to step in and help regulate the Chesapeake Bay watershed cleanup efforts last spring after state and local governments proved ineffective at restoration.

The EPA's restoration strategy will likely include recommendations for how to reduce runoff, create forest buffers along the watershed's shoreline and build cleaner wastewater treatment systems.

Despite some areas of improvement, the Chesapeake Bay remained in poor health in 2009, according to a report released by the Chesapeake Bay Program in early April. The Bay's health was evaluated at 45 percent. A 100 percent health score represents a fully restored ecosystem.

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