- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
- U.N. warns of Muslim ‘cleansing’ in Central African Republic
- Senate blocks change to military sex assault cases
- Drug mix may have cured child born with HIV, doctors say
- De Blasio’s wife irks former mansion chef with ‘servant’ remark
- Russia’s neighbors shiver amid Putin’s Cold War moves in Ukraine
- New SAT: The essay portion is to become optional
- Military group can’t march to honor the fallen at Boston Marathon due to security changes
- Senate passes bills deleting ‘retarded’ from laws
- China announces biggest military hike in 3 years: We are not ‘boy scouts with spears’
Virginia budget omits funds for Potomac River
Critics call decision short-sighted
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s two-year, $85 billion budget blueprint does not include thousands in dues to a long-standing, multistate compact to clean and maintain the Potomac River, a move drawing fire from critics who say the relatively small outlay provides a substantial return for the commonwealth.
The $151,500 in dues to the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin for the current year was stripped out during the 2011 General Assembly’s budget amendment process. Mr. McDonnell, a Republican, did not include the money for either of the next two years.
In an Oct. 27 letter, Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Doug Domenech said the commission’s work often overlaps with other services, including a multistate commission devoted to cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay. The membership fee is also expensive compared to other interstate organizations, Mr. Domenech wrote, and represents the equivalent cost for two full-time state employees who could working on other water-quality projects.
“In these economic times, we are dedicated to spending limited taxpayer dollars in the most effective and efficient way possible,” Mr. Domenech stated. “Virginia’s membership in the ICPRB is no longer needed to provide quality management of the state’s interest in the river basin.”
He said, for example, should Virginia withdraw from the compact, the Environmental Protection Agency would reduce the commission’s share of one grant for water-quality management by more than $200,000.
“If they remain in the compact, and they don’t pay their dues, the ICPRB is going to have to make some adjustments,” Mr. Hartwell said. “I agree with [the governor] that a commission that’s outdated and doesn’t do good service should be abolished. … But if we’re goingto pull out of a program, we need to look at it on a dynamic basis.”
“We bring 22 or 23 people to the table [who are] focused on a variety of things,” he said. “We very honestly do not duplicate services.”
The Fairfax County Water Authority also has written to the governor on the issue, saying that withdrawing from the commission could jeopardize the reliability of the river as a water source during droughts.
“Our state represents the largest portion of the Potomac River watershed; not funding it is a big deal,” said Delegate Scott A. Surovell, Fairfax Democrat. Mr. Surovell plans to introduce a budget amendment to fund the state’s dues for the next two fiscal years and for the funds stripped out during the 2011 budget amendment process.
“It’s not a Democrat or Republican issue,” he said. “It’s simply an issue that a public resource is being cared for by every jurisdiction that affects it.”
House Majority Whip Jackson H. Miller, Manassas Republican and a state alternate on the commission, said he was still looking at the numbers.
“Funding is one thing. What is really the concern and the issue we’re trying to resolve now in a bipartisan way is the membership issue,” Mr. Hoffman said. “We don’t want to see Virginia drop their membership or withdraw from the commission.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
David Sherfinski covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at email@example.com.
- CPAC 2014: Rick Perry to conservatives: 'You are the path to the future'
- CPAC 2014: McConnell works to reassure conservatives
- CPAC 2014: GOP optimism, agenda emerge at CPAC
- CPAC 2014: NRA's LaPierre says gun owners won't back down
- CPAC 2014: Marco Rubio says U.S. 'must be involved in leading the world'
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Tammy Bruce
- Putin has transformed Russian army into a lean, mean fighting machine
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- DELAY: A revolution for the Constitution
- BRUCE: Obama's bizarre immigration rules
- Unemployment insurance vote could happen next week
- PRUDEN: Likening Putin to Hitler on Ukraine shows Hillary's shaky grasp of history
- Otter attacks, kills alligator at Florida wildlife refuge
- Calif. shop facing angry fire pulls 'smart gun' from shelves
- R-S-P-E-C-T: Find out what it means for Obama
- Back to the Future: HUVr Tech marketing video goes viral with hoverboard release tease
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again