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Va. Farmers: Chesapeake Bay Bill Harmful To Rural Communities

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By Greg Peppers

A group of farmers from Virginia will be on Capitol Hill this week to express their opposition to legislation that they say is a heavy-handed approach to restoring the Chesapeake Bay.

The 35 Virginia farmers will be in Washington to meet with the state's Congressional delegation. They're coming to argue against the passage of Senate Bill 1816. The legislation would establish a total maximum daily load for nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment that enters the Bay.

The farmers, members of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, say the bill could spell disaster for farms and rural communities in the Bay's six-state watershed. The group contends that the measure places the goal of Bay restoration above all economic and social considerations and stands to impose severe economic hardships on farmers.

The farmers also say they've made great strides in reducing runoff and improving water quality in Virginia and other Bay states. While the farmers oppose 1816, they support a bay improvement measure in the House that they say would be easier on farmers.

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