Right now, top officials from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies are debating what additional actions the government should take to jump-start the cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay.
These critical top-level discussions are happening in response to President Barack Obama’s May 12 Executive Order declaring the Bay a “national treasure” and proclaiming that “the Federal Government should lead this effort” to restore the estuary.
Here is your chance to weigh in. An open “town hall” meeting will be held on Aug. 11 in Annapolis (details below) to discuss options with Chuck Fox, the EPA’s new top advisor for Chesapeake Bay restoration.
What new steps do you think the federal government should take to reduce pollution in the Bay? I think it’s critically important that the EPA start using the federal Clean Water Act to deny permits for development projects, wastewater plants, industrial facilities and other activities that would add more pollution to waterways (including the Bay) that are already on the EPA’s list of impaired waterways.
This is perhaps an obvious point – start enforcing the law.
But in addition to strong law enforcement, what would you think about something new and innovative?
Perhaps the government should create a “cap and trade” program throughout the whole Bay watershed that would set a maximum amount of nutrient pollution, and then require companies or utilities to pay fees if they exceed this amount. The fees would be used to pay for pollution reduction projects elsewhere, such as by planting trees along streams on farms to prevent runoff. Such a “cap and trade” concept worked very well during the 1990s and this decade to cut sulfur dioxide air pollution from power plants, which reduced acid rain in our rivers and other waterways.
The success of this "cap and trade" program, which was instituted because of 1990 federal Clean Air Act Amendments, inspired The Economist magazine (not exactly a treehugger mouthpiece) to declare cap and trade in July 2002 as "probably the greatest green success story of the past decade."
"Cap and trade" systems are also being discussed at the federal level as a method to reduce global warming pollution.
If the scheme works to defeat acid rain, perhaps it could also be used to save the Bay and our climate.
Do you agree or disagree?
Send Bay Daily your thoughts.
And mark your calendar to voice your opinions at the town hall meeting on Aug. 11. Will Baker, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, plans to attend. If you also want to come out and speak your mind, please RSVP because space is limited.
Chesapeake Bay Town Hall Meeting.
President Obama has ordered the EPA and other federal agencies to draft plans by Sept. 9 to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. A diverse group representing business, academic, faith, environmental and other interests will meet Aug. 11 in Annapolis to discuss specific steps the Administration must take.
WHAT: Chesapeake Bay Town Hall Meeting
WHEN: Tuesday, Aug. 11, 6:30 - 8:00
WHERE: St. Philip's Episcopal Church, 730 Bestgate Road, Annapolis, MD 21401
INVITED: Lisa Jackson, EPA Administrator
Chuck Fox, EPA Senior Advisor on the Chesapeake Bay Dr. Don Boesch, President, UMD Center for Environmental Science Will Baker, President, Chesapeake Bay Foundation (plans to attend) Tommy Landers, Policy Advocate, Environment Maryland. For more information and to RSVP, contact Tommy Landers at Environment Maryland, 410-467-0439 or Terry Cummings at Chesapeake Bay Foundation, 410-268-8816.
Chuck Fox, EPA Senior Advisor on the Chesapeake Bay
Dr. Don Boesch, President, UMD Center for Environmental Science
Will Baker, President, Chesapeake Bay Foundation (plans to attend)
Tommy Landers, Policy Advocate, Environment Maryland.
For more information and to RSVP, contact Tommy Landers at Environment Maryland, 410-467-0439 or Terry Cummings at Chesapeake Bay Foundation, 410-268-8816.