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State Cleanup Plan Gets Public Scrutiny

Baytmdlwshed600
It’s your turn now.

The six Bay states and the District of Columbia recently completed their individual plans for cleaning up their part of the Chesapeake Bay and submitted them to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) March 30.

If you live in Virginia, it’s now your turn to say what you think about Virginia’s Bay cleanup plan, starting next week at a series of public meetings kicking off in Chesapeake, Va.

Like the other state cleanup plans, Virginia’s is intended to be a fundamental blueprint for how, where, and when the Commonwealth will reduce pollution to achieve the Bay pollution limits by 2025.

The pollution limits –- scientifically derived pollution thresholds that will restore the Chesapeake, its streams and rivers, and the critters in them -- are very similar to those called for by the states several years ago in plans called “tributary strategies.” The difference now is that EPA and the Bay states are serious about implementing the plans.

Virginia’s plan and those of the other Bay states should include enough details -- the actions, intended actions, deadlines, resources, and anticipated needs down to the individual river basin and local level -- so that EPA and you, the public, can be reasonably sure they will succeed. After all, no one wants to see yet another failure as in past years, when lofty promises were made to save the Bay but no one was held accountable for keeping them.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation has reviewed the Virginia plan and thinks it lacks critical local details, especially goals and strategies for reducing farm and urban runoff pollution.

If you’re a Virginian who cares about clean water, healthy local streams, a restored Bay, and a cleaner environment to pass on to your children, take a look at Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay plan here. Decide for yourself if you think it’s credible and ensures clean water in your local creek and the Bay. (You can also take a look at your local community’s plan to reduce pollution here.)

Attend one of the public meetings in your area this month -– the schedule is below -- or send a written note to vabaytmdl@dcr.virginia.gov and tell state officials what you expect. This isn’t rocket science. Virginia needs a cleanup plan that everyone understands and that gets the job done. If you’re not sure it does, the plan isn’t up to snuff. And that’s a big problem for the Bay, everyone in its watershed, and the region's economy.

It’s your stream, your river, your Bay, and your state. Speak up.

Chuck Epes
Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Lower James River basin: May 9, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., Hampton Roads Planning District Commission Board Room, 723 Woodlake Drive, Chesapeake, Va. 23320

Potomac River basin: May 15, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m., Prince William Development Services Building, Room 202, 5 County Complex Center, Woodbridge, Va. 22192

Middle James River basin: May 23, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m., Trani Life Sciences Building, Room 151 (in annex), 1000 W. Cary Street, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Va. 23284

Eastern Shore: May 23, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m., location to be announced.

Rappahannock/York River basins: May 30, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m., Union First Market Bankshares, 24010 Partnership Drive, Ruther Glen, Va. 22546

Upper James River basin: May 30, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m., Alleghany Government Center, 9212 Winterberry Avenue, Covington, Va. 24426

Shenandoah River basin: May 31, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m., Festival Conference Center, Highlands Room, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va. 22807

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