The Baltimore Sun is reporting today that Chesapeake Bay area states and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency during a meeting tomorrow will announce that they’ve agreed to a new “drop dead” deadline for cleaning up the Bay – in 2025.
“After failing repeatedly over the last 25 years to meet self-imposed deadlines for cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay, state and federal officials appear ready to set a new-drop dead date — 16 years from now. But they say what really matters is what they pledge to do in the next two years,” The Sun’s Timothy Wheeler reports.
We’ll see what happens tomorrow during the Chesapeake Bay Executive Council meeting in Mount Vernon, Virginia. But it is critical that these two-year goals from the states be aggressive enough that they really accelerate the pace of Bay cleanup, and not simply reflect the status quo.
If the states do not propose aggressive two year goals, then EPA should step in and use its authority under the federal Clean Water Act to force stronger pollution controls.
All of this discussion of deadlines is happening again because EPA has already acknowledged that the 2010 deadline for cleaning up the Bay (set back in 2000) is not going to be met. Before this deadline, federal and state officials back in 1987 picked the year 2000 as the original goal for finishing the Bay cleanup.
The problem with these long-term targets is that politicians can make them – knowing full well they’ll be long gone when the bill comes due. Short term, specific cleanup plans are better. But EPA needs to back up any targets with real consequences if the states don’t keep their promises.
Any thoughts, Bay Daily readers?