It's been quite a week for the Chesapeake Bay.
First, on Monday, Bay state and Washington, D.C. representatives and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tentatively agreed to recommend pushing back the current 2010 deadline, set in 2000, for cleaning up the Bay another ten years. CBF issued a statement congratulating governments for what they have achieved in recent years but expressing frustration that the deadline for true restoration has been pushed back on leaders who have not yet come to office or position.
On Tuesday, U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez issued a federal disaster declaration for the Bay's blue crab fishery. Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski asked for the declaration back in May. Funding is still pending but Sen. Mikulski is optimistic it will come through quickly.
As an editorial in the Free Lance-Star stated, both serve as reminders that, even in this see-sawing economy, "cleaning up the bay needs to remain a top priority--one that will pay future economic dividends in jobs, recreational pursuits, and the bay's delicious bounty."
An editorial in today's Daily Press about the crab crisis notes, "Real improvement in the outlook for crabs or any bay residents depends on fixing the underlying conditions that threaten them." That echoes arguments made back in April that while we need a quick fix for the sake of our watermen's economy, what we really need is long-term committment. Not rhetoric, real committment.
Yesterday, in a move that holds the federal government accountable for its responsibilities to the Clean Water Act and to the American public, CBF issued a federal blueprint for environmental action by the next Administration. Titled "Restoring Clean Water and the Chesapeake Bay: A Plan for America's Next President," it outlines 16 specific actions that the next president and Congress need to take if we are to be successful in reducing pollution, meeting the requirements of the Clean Water Act, and improving local economies.
What are your thoughts on the week's news?