Proposed budgets in Virginia and Maryland would reorganize a number of programs related to the Bay cleanup.
The biggest switch would come in Virginia, where Gov. George Allen's proposed budget would consolidate all Bay- related programs into the Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance Department. That agency, created in 1988 to administer the state's Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, assists local governments in developing land use policies that protect the Bay and its tributaries.
Because the area covered by the Bay act -- roughly the area east of Interstate 95 -- corresponds with the region covered by the state Coastal Zone Management Program, the budget proposes moving that program to CBLAD from the Department of Environmental Quality.
In addition, Bay-related administrative and monitoring activities now housed in DEQ would also be transferred to CBLAD, which is also the agency implementing tributary nutrient reduction strategies in Virginia.
At the same time, regulatory stormwater management and erosion and sediment control programs now handled by CBLAD and the Department of Conservation and Recreation would be consolidated in DEQ. Still, CBLAD would maintain staff to provide technical assistance to local governments on stormwater management.
Federal Chesapeake Bay implementation grant money, funds from the EPA's Bay Program office used to help implement runoff control programs, will also be administered through CBLAD.
Kathleen Lawrence, CBLAD executive director, said her agency would prioritize the funding to help implement the tributary strategies, though some of the funds would continue to go to DCR, which oversees agricultural programs to curb nutrient runoff.
"Because the Bay is all we do, we have a better feel for the priorities of the Chesapeake Bay Commission and the Bay Program," she said. "These other departments will have input on our decisions."
In other proposed changes, the Dam Safety and Floodplain Management Program would be moved from the DCR to the Department of Emergency Services.
In Maryland, meanwhile, Gov. Parris Glendening proposed ending several environmental programs, including a Department of Natural Resources program to clean up abandoned boats in the Bay and other waterways, and Department of the Environment programs to provide loans for underground storage tank removal and to protect shorelines from erosion.
The governor proposed a so-called "brownfields" program that would encourage the redevelopment of contaminated lands in urban areas.
To boost economic development, Glendening promised to sign an executive order requiring agencies to justify any state regulations that are more stringent than federal requirements.