I was at a meeting of the Magothy River Association last night -- an organization that has been very instrumental in the ongoing challenge against zoning and construction violations on Dobbins Island -- and one of the members commented that she never ceases to be amazed when she hears people say, "oh, the Bay is doing so much better!" "We're making so much progress!"
This week's plethora of news stories shows the lie to such statements. Today, Voice of America listeners around the globe got the latest update on our struggles. "The bay's economic and environmental impact is huge," quotes the web article, "But it is in trouble, and many fear its demise. Producer Zulima Palacio reports on one of the most challenging environmental recovery programs in the country."
Closer to home, the Annapolis Capital and the Richmond Times Dispatch reported on reports issued yesterday by the Chesapeake Bay Program and the University of Maryland that have the same message the Chesapeake Bay Foundation issued several months ago in its State of the Bay report -- cleanup efforts are not living up to expectations.
Much has been made about local and national governments' emphasis on green issues during this year's sessions. In Maryland, elected officials voted in favor of several important pieces of legislation, including native oyster restoration, clean cars, stormwater controls, and environmentally-friendly dishwashing detergent.
However, the Senate blocked the Chesapeake Bay Green Fund, which would have created a $130 million per year dedicated funding source for Bay restoration activities through a fee on new development. Despite overwhelming support from the public, constituent groups, and the House of Delegates (which voted 96 - 41 in support of the legislation), the Senate refused to vote on the legislation, instead choosing to delay Bay restoration efforts.
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) has been advocating for funding for the Bay for four years. Our legislative blueprint, Help Wanted: Leadership for the Bay, that was released during the fall of 2006, outlines our strategy. But it looks like the Bay and our local rivers and streams will have to wait another year -- perhaps longer -- to receive desperately needed cleanup funds.
...At least our children are doing something about cleaning up the Bay.