EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, the new chair of the Chesapeake Executive Council, is expected to make an annoucement at 4 p.m. today at the Choose Clean Water conference at the Renaissance M Street Hotel, 1143 New Hampshire Ave., N.W. in Washington DC. Bay Daily will be there to cover it. Stay tuned for an update later today.
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is urging Surry County, Virginia, to deny rezoning requests that would allow a power company to build a massive coal-fired power plant that would spew illegal amounts of mercury and nitrogen pollution into Bay tributaries. Public hearings on the Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC) proposal are set for Feb. 1 at the Dendron, Va., firehouse, and Feb 4 at the Surry County Government Center. Show up and speak out.
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The Maryland Department of the Environment has reached a settlement agreement in a well-publicized wetlands violation case on Little Island in the Magothy River. The settlement imposes $45,000 in penalties on developer Daryl C. Wagner.
A central tragedy of the Chesapeake Bay is that everyone loves it, but everyone also refuses to see how they’re killing it. It’s a shared resource. But it’s always someone else’s responsibility to give something up to make sure it’s not exploited.
The Bay is like a beautiful neighborhood park that’s being overrun with traffic, litter and pet waste. The dogs walkers get so overheated yelling at the litter bugs and Sunday drivers that they pay no attention to the waste they've left behind.
I urge you to listen to Joel McCord’s excellent series of public radio programs on WYPR to get a sense for the round-robin of responsibility avoidance that’s happening right now as federal government considers increasing action to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.
The Annapolis Capital has endorsed new legislation to save the Bay, called the Chesapeake Clean Water Act. “The Bay needs both the legislation's concrete standards and its commitment of federal aid money.”
The Baltimore Sun also editorializes today about the bill, writing: “The Chesapeake's plight has become so desperate that this amounts to, if not a last stand, then perhaps a last, best hope for a turnaround.”
The Fairfax Times endorses the Chesapeake Clean Water Act, saying: "EPA officials have been going to battle with a squirt gun in their pocket. Giving them the tools to penalize states and municipalities for inaction would be a win for the Chesapeake Bay and the millions of people who count on it every day."
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said today that the Obama Administration supports the passage of new federal clean water laws that would give the federal agency more power to stop pollution and hold states accountable for cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay.
“We believe additional legislation (to accelerate the Bay cleanup) is a very good thing and have endorsed that idea,” Jackson (pictured at right) said during a meeting in Arlington, Virginia, of Bay area government officials called the Chesapeake Bay Executive Council. "We believe legislation has to include additional authorities for the federal government."
Despite the general support, the EPA Administrator said that the Obama Administration has not yet taken a position on the specific language of a landmark Bay cleanup bill pending before Congress, called the Chesapeake Clean Water Act.
The legislation is the most important clean water bill in a generation for the Chesapeake region.
Here’s a gift of good news for the New Year. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is opposing the approval of a permit that would allow the paving of wetlands in Southern Maryland for the construction of the Sprawl Highway.
A recent letter from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to the Army Corps of Engineers says the Chesapeake region’s “most productive nursery” for several species of fish, the Mattawoman Creek, would be hurt if Charles County is permitted to build the seven mile roadway, called the Cross County Connector.
"The Service recommends denial of the Section 404 wetland permit until a more complete assessment . . . of the proposed highway is completed in addition to a more comprehensive evaluation of alternatives, and a detailed mitigation and compensation plan," wrote Leopoldo Miranda, a supervisor with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.