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Chesapeake Clean Water Act Blocked in U.S. Senate

Harryreid Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has abandoned plans to bring to the floor an omnibus bill designed to protect wilderness areas and restore waterways across the U.S., including legislation to help clean up the Chesapeake Bay.

Despite intensive, up-to-the-last-minute advocacy by Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and many others, the America’s Great Outdoors Act of 2010, which included the Chesapeake Clean Water Act, fell a few votes short of the 60 needed to overcome a threat of filibuster from the minority.

“Unfortunately, certain senators have made it clear that they prefer delay over bipartisan action,” Reid spokeswoman Regan Lachapelle said this morning.

Cardin Senator Cardin deserves a huge thanks for fighting hard for the Chesapeake Clean Water Act, the most important environmental legislation in a generation. The act would have held Bay area state governments accountable for their plans to reduce pollution into the nation’s largest estuary, increased federal funding available for Bay cleanup, banned phosphorus in detergents, and reduced stormwater runoff pollution.

Cardin has pledged to keep working diligently on legislation to clean up the Chesapeake, and the alliances built to advance the bill this year will likely help in future efforts.   Supporters of the Chesapeake Clean Water Act wrote roughly 15,000 letters and emails to lawmakers urging them to pass the legislation. 

The Chesapeake Clean Water Act won unanimous approval from a Senate committee this year. But the way the Senate operates these days, unfortunately, almost any bill needs 60 votes to avoid threat of filibuster – and that proved a hurdle too high. Leading the charge against approval of the bill were Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma and lobbyists for the Farm Bureau.

It is unclear what will happen in the next session. But if the bill is re-introduced, CBF will be out in front, fighting for it again.  Major legislation like this often takes several years to win approval.

The lack of passage this year was frustrating –- in part because the Constitution’s framers intended a majority of the Senate to be required for a bill’s passage, not 60 votes.

However, the great teamwork and public support shown on behalf of the Chesapeake Clean Water Act this year portends well for future battles on Capitol Hill.



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Thank you Senator Cardin for carrying the flag, while those around you shirked their responsibility to future generations. What a dissapointment that that our most senior elected leadership elected to "punt" once again on doing the responsible thing for the environment. Why? Why the dereliction of duty for this important cause? When our children and grandchildren hear that we USED to fish and swim in the bay, and that we REMEMBER oysters and Blue Crabs and Rockfish, we will have cold comfort of saying "we tried" - but the timid knuckled under and did nothing. On behalf of my children, and their children - I say Thanks Again, Senator Cardin, for your heroic efforts, God Bless you.

Well said, Thomas! This is no time for timidity. Aggressive action is what we need for the Bay. Thanks to Senator Cardin for fighting hard all the way until the end.

Please, to our Legislation, help with the Clean Water Act for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. We all need "clean' water, to drink, bathe in, cook with, enjoy our lakes rivers and oceans. Please support this cause and get all of our water sources "cleaned up" A.S.A.P. I hope we can count on you.

Thank you.

Carla Compton

We have the laws on the books, we know what the problems are, we know what we needs to do. We need no new federal act but what we do need are county and state elected offical who will stand up and walk the walk and stop just talking the talk. Just enforce the Clean Water Act, NPDES Permits, Nutient Managemenet Plans, spend Open Space Money on open space, and spend all the tire disposal fees on cleaning up tire dumps.

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