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Study: Chesapeake cleanup would bring $22B boon

WASHINGTON — The Chesapeake Bay region would reap an additional $22.5 billion a year from improved hurricane protection, crab and fish production and climate stability if the Obama administration’s contested plan to clean up the watershed proceeds, an environmental group says.

The assessment released Monday is based on a peer-reviewed analysis of the economic benefits to the entities — six states and the District of Columbia — charged with reducing pollution into the nation’s largest estuary.

It comes as the Environmental Protection Agency is defending its cleanup plan in federal court against a challenge from farmers and 21 attorneys general who say the pollution limits are unreasonably costly and an unjustified power grab by the federal government.

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