Kent Residents Ask Commissioners to End Clean Chesapeake Coalition Funding

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The Conowingo Dam, the main target of the Clean Chesapeake Coalition’s lobbying efforts

By letter, two Kent County residents are asking Commissioners Tom Mason and Bob Jacob to consider terminating the county’s annual $17,000 payment to the Clean Chesapeake Coalition.

“From all available evidence, the Coalition is a lobbying group, not an environmental organization,” according to Bill Herb (Chestertown) and Gren Whitman (Rock Hall). They add: “Before handing the Coalition another $17,000, we ask that you determine what actual, tangible, provable benefits Kent County residents have received from the Coalition’s work since 2013.”

They point out: “On its website, the Coalition goes out of its way to question Watershed Implementation Plans, which hold farmers and landowners responsible for pollution entering the watershed from their properties.”

Since 2013, Kent County has allocated a total of $159,000 to the Coalition.

Herb and Whitman are inviting Mason and Jacob to conduct a public hearing “to test and examine the legitimacy of the Coalition’s claims.”

Because Commissioner Ron Fithian is the Coalition’s chairman, the letter asks for his “recusal from any discussion of this issue” and that he also “abstain from any vote on the Coalition’s funding request.”

Bill Herb is a hydrologist specializing in sediment studies who previously worked with the U.S. Geological Survey in College Park and Towson. He wrote a Spy article examining the Clean Chesapeake Coalition’s efforts in September 2018.

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