Worrisome News from Northumberland
With Farm Bill in Limbo, Bay Cleanup Funds Are at Risk

EPA Penalizes Virginia $1.2 Million for Inadequate Stormwater Controls

StormwaterChesapeakeBayProgramVirginia is paying a price for not doing enough to clean up the Bay.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is withholding $1.2 million in federal aid from the commonwealth.  Why? Because Virginia is not doing enough to meet new federal Bay pollution limits by reducing runoff pollution from urban and suburban streets and parking lots, the (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot is reporting.  The state has been slow to issue new stormwater control permits to 11 municipalities across Virginia, including six in Hampton Roads.

"There's been a reluctance by the state and local governments to commit to steps that are significant" in reducing stormwater runoff pollution, said Peggy Sanner, a senior attorney for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. "EPA wants to see strong and enforceable permits that are going to mean something."

State officials told the Virginian-Pilot this week that they were “taken aback, but not especially worried,” by the EPA's funding cut because state officials have been working to fix shortcomings in their stormwater program for months. 

"We were like, 'Whoa, wait, we're working on it,' " said Gary Waugh, a spokesman for the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, the state agency that regulates stormwater pollution and its many sources.

State officials said they will re-apply for the federal funds.

Large cities and counties in Virginia have been waiting for new state stormwater control permits for years, and EPA wants these new permits to require reductions in runoff pollution, according to the newspaper.

The EPA’s sanctions are appropriate, CBF believes, because they show the federal government is holding the Bay region states accountable for meeting new pollution limits for the nation’s largest estuary.  Virginia and the other regional states have written plans to meet these targets that are like blueprints for cleaning up the Bay, and strong new urban stormwater control permits are an important part of these plans.

Without strong permits that are enforced by the state, we won’t have clean rivers and streams and a healthy Chesapeake Bay.

By Tom Pelton

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

(Photo at top from Chesapeake Bay Program)

 

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Thank you for using the Virginian Pilot instead of that crappy paper, the daily press, that can't publish an honest story.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)