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 poultry farmer in the story says the federal government should not be looking at him to reduce his pollution –- because the bigger problem, in his mind, is the rampant suburban sprawl in the Bay watershed.
Meanwhile, the developer claims that his home building is not a threat to the Chesapeake. It’s big agriculture that, in his view, is the elephant in the room that must be addressed.
The federal government is being pushed to exert more pressure on states to clean up the Bay. But Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley points right back at the federal government, saying that reducing the pollution from Washington DC’s Blue Plains sewage treatment plant –- which is downstream every time someone in Congress or the White House flushes a toilet –- should be the first priority of the federal government.
The truth of the matter, of course, is that the federal government should both upgrade the Blue Plains sewage treatment plant, AND push Maryland to do a better job of reducing pollution. Both the poultry farmer AND the developer (and everyone else) must take responsibility for their waste.
No exemptions. No more self-delusion. Everyone must pull together to save our neighborhood park.