Paper that covers Chesapeake Bay faces questions over its EPA funding

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“The grant is to do education and outreach,” he said. “And what we do has proven to be an effective way to do education and outreach. The product speaks for itself.”

The paper was not started by the EPA, Mr. Blankenship said. It was created by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay to meet a government mandate to inform the public about environmental issues during the 1980s. He said he has tried to maintain independence for the 30,000 circulation paper, forming his own group to run it — Chesapeake Media Service.

“It’s an organization that has a number of professional journalists on the board,” he said. “So there’s somebody to say there’s journalistic integrity to what we’re doing.”

Some editorials by the Bay Journal News Service have supported EPA viewpoints and are critical of GOP lawmakers wishing to curtail the power of the agency.

At other times, the media outlet has been critical of EPA, such as an opinion piece written by Mr. Blankenship entitled “EPA torches public’s right to know.” The article charged the EPA was preventing the public from learning about violations from companies using toxic chemicals.

Nonetheless, the Bay Journal’s wire service does not disclose on its website that several of its opinion writers get part of their pay from EPA.

Mr. Blankenship said he doesn’t feel the need to expressly tell outlets picking up stories that funding comes partially from the EPA.

“The Bay Journal is pretty well recognized,” he said. “It’s been around for 20 years.”

The Baltimore Sun, one of the publications that has syndicated some of the Bay Journal’s content, said it doesn’t plan to change the way it handles such columns.

“The Baltimore Sun is aware that Bay News receives some funding from the EPA as it is disclosed on their website along with funding from private donations and other foundations. We do not anticipate any changes in the handling of Bay News content on our Op-Ed pages,” spokeswoman Renee Mutchnik said.

Mr. Todd said the Bay Journal “tries to provide that middle ground, that unbiased view. EPA gets to present its view, but so do others.”

And the advisory board for the paper is there “not to serve the EPA, but to provide their independent viewpoint,” he added.

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