BALTIMORE -- The fight against a variety of pollutants in the Chesapeake Bay would be stepped up by almost $7 million under legislation being prepared by Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-Md).
The Chesapeake Bay Restoration Act of 1990 would increase annual federal money for the bay from $13 million to $20 million to fight pollution from acid rain and pesticides and to fight oyster disease and other problems.
The money would be spent on expanding federal support of research, monitoring and management activities.
"We think the prospects for the eventual enactment should be quite good," Sarbanes said last week.
"I think the cleanup of the bay has gained sufficient credibility and support that it's a process that's going to continue."
Sarbanes hopes to include his bill in a revision of the federal Clean Water Act, which expires next year.
A major purpose of Sarbanes' bill is to write into law many provisions of the voluntary anti-pollution agreement that bay states signed in 1987, said Charlie Stek, Sarbanes's projects director.
The agreement was signed by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Chesapeake Bay Commission and Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
The agreement, which is up for re-authorization in 1991, pledged to reduce organic pollution 40 percent by the year 2000.
Under Sarbanes' bill, the EPA would continue to be the lead federal agency in the bay program and would be required to monitor and try to reduce the impact and source of airborne acid deposits, such as from acid rain.
Studies suggest that acid rain may contribute as much as one-fourth of the nitrates that over-enrich the bay, robbing it of oxygen.
The bill would also require the EPA to oversee pesticide use within the bay region and a study of urban and storm water runoff. Another provision would authorize $3 million a year for five years for research into oyster disease in the bay.
The bill also would improve coordination among research programs undertaken by state and federal agencies and other entities.
David Carroll, bay program coordinator for Gov. William Donald Schaefer, said state officials have reviewed the draft legislation and support it generally.
"We think it's a pretty good move," he said. "Obviously, we've got a long way to go."