Monday, April 20, 2009

Chesapeake Bay Update

Bad news from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Their 10th Annual State of the Bay report shows no significant progress in pollution reduction. That's discouraging in the extreme, given the attention that's been focused on the problem for a decade.

They're calling for the EPA "to use every possible tool available to stop" the trashing of the Bay. For starters, they'd like strict pollution reduction criteria under the Clean Water Act. Specifically, they want the EPA to stop issuing permits for new development projects that increase pollution, to require reductions in polluted runoff, and to deny air pollution permits for every new coal-fired power plant that pollutes waterways in the region. And they want the EPA to do it now.

Given the EPA has the regulatory authority - not to mention the mandate - to do all this, it's preposterous it hasn't already been done. The Bay ecosystem is vital to this region and beyond. There's no way we can know all we do about the interdependence of ecosystems and take the position that the Bay is only a concern for the Mid-Atlantic. And there's no way we can turn our backs on our role in the continued decline of this treasure.

There are so many environmental problems without a clear place to start. This is not one of them. We know that runoff carries pollutants to the waterways. We know that pollution in the air winds up in those same waterways. We know that new development, if not done with reduction of runoff in mind, contributes to pollutants that, along with industrial and sewage treatment discharges, wind up in the waterways.

There's absolutely no excuse for letting this go on any longer when there's so much at stake and such clear action that can be taken.

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