Grants to help localities clean Bay

Local government officials stressing out about the costs of cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay are being offered a little help - and a little cash - to take steps needed to control polluted runoff from their streets and parking lots.

Officials with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced they're offering local officials throughout the bay region $4 million in grants and technical assistance for designing and installing "green infrastructure."

The "Local Government Green Infrastructure Initiative," as it's called, will let local officials compete for grants of up to $750,000 each on projects that both green their communities and help improve water quality in streams, rivers and the bay.  Road maintenance, park enhancements and public facilities renovations would qualify. The grants will be administered by the congressionally chartered foundation.¿

Some Maryland counties and Baltimore city project having to spend hundreds of millions of dollars each on storm drain retrofits and other costly pollution control projects to comply with the baywide "pollution diet" imposed by EPA.  Officials says these grants are meant to encourage local officials to make those investments by demonstrating that the projects have other benefits for their communities besides clean water.

"We are confident that by showcasing the good things that are happening in communities and neighborhoods that more people will be motivated to do their part,”  said Harford County Councilwoman Mary Ann Lisanti, head of the local government advisory committee for the multi-state bay restoration effort.


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