A new way to pay for the Chesapeake Bay

Mar 4, 2020

Michael Curley is an environmental lawyer and the author of “The Handbook of Project Finance for Water and Wastewater Systems.”

The most powerful anti-pollution program in the United States is the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF), created by Congress in 1987. It has provided about $140 billion to more than 40,000 water pollution projects. The only problem is that the CWSRF does not allow loans to be made across state lines. But there’s an exception that may benefit the Chesapeake Bay.

Lately there have been bad feelings between Pennsylvania and Maryland over Pennsylvania’s failure to fully address its pollution problems in the Susquehanna River, one of the main feeders of the bay. Pennsylvania’s problems stem from its agricultural sector, where nutrient runoff from the many farms along the Susquehanna winds up downstream in the bay. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has demanded that the state’s attorney general sue Pennsylvania and sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to force Pennsylvania to do its job.

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