With the Green Fund coming up in the Maryland General Assembly special session next week it could just as easily be Maryland afloat.
Right now, legislators have an opportunity to support the Green Fund for clean streams and a healthy Bay. Not surprisingly, there's a lot of support for it: from environmentalists and watermen to homebuilders, community leaders, and health-care professionals; in fact, 63 percent of Marylanders are willing to pay a $20 annual fee to fund Bay clean-up programs.
It's a rare moment when opportunity, consensus, and a solution all align at the same time. And we must take advantage of this moment.
As for Virginia, the Commonwealth has made great strides in recent years in funding upgrades to sewage treatment plants. Now the big challenge is reducing runoff pollution, especially from farms. CBF and a coalition of agricultural and conservation groups are calling upon Governor Tim Kaine and the Virginia General Assembly to include $100 million annually for 10 years in the state budget to fund programs that help Virginia farmers reduce runoff. The funding would come from 1/10th of one cent of the current sales tax. If fully funded, the programs could cut 60% of the nitrogen runoff--nearly 12 million pounds a year--needed to meet Bay cleanup goals. This is a huge opportunity to fix one of the biggest pollution problems plaguing Virginia rivers and the Bay.
What do you think? Should cleaning up the Bay be a funding priority?