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Impact of Chesapeake Bay cleanup debated

Jan. 3, 2012 at 11:43 AM   |   Comments

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BALTIMORE, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- A U.S. environmental group says federal requirements for a Chesapeake Bay cleanup will create hundreds of thousands of jobs in construction and monitoring.

Spending on sewage and storm-water treatment necessary to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requirements to reduce pollution in the bay could support about 230,000 jobs in the region over the next 14 years, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation report released Tuesday said.

The report comes amid a debate in Washington over whether environmental and other regulations hurt the economy.

Business groups and Republicans have called for repealing many federal rules, meeting resistance from environmentalists and Democrats.

Virginia Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte said EPA regulations requiring bay states to cut the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment released into waters by 15 percent to 25 percent by 2025 were overzealous and would result in "billions of dollars in economic losses."

William C. Baker, the foundation's president, disagreed.

"Clean air and clean water creates jobs," Baker told The Baltimore Sun.

The argument that environmental regulations add to joblessness is "nothing less than absurd," he said.

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