Federal and state officials responsible for the cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay are promising to describe how they will "chart a new course" for the recovery of the nation's largest estuary during a meeting in Virginia on Tuesday, according to a press release from the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program.
In their first meeting since the Obama Administration took office, new EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is scheduled to huddle with Chesapeake Bay region governors and the Mayor of Washington, DC, at Mount Vernon in Virginia. They plan to discuss how they can accelerate the pace of cleanup.
It’s not yet clear to Bay Daily what the specifics of this "new course" will be. But the Chesapeake Bay Foundation wants the new direction to include a significantly stronger leadership role from the EPA, and the creation of a strong federal cap on pollution entering the Bay that includes specific penalties for states if they fail to meet cleanup obligations.
Instead of just studying the problem, the states and federal government need to take action to reduce runoff pollution. And if the states fail to make sufficient progress, the EPA should exert its authority under the federal Clean Water Act and deny permits for developments that will add more contaminants to waterways (including the Chesapeake Bay) that are already on the EPA’s list of polluted waterways.
Chairing the meeting of top officials, called the Chesapeake Bay Executive Council, will be Virginia Governor Timothy M. Kaine, who has “hinted at some major changes coming to the Chesapeake Bay cleanup,” according to the (Norfolk, Va.) Virginian Pilot.
“The governor said he intends to push ahead against two big pollutant sources affecting the Bay and impairing hundreds of Virginia streams - farm runoff and urban stormwater. The state is rewriting its stormwater regulations and hopes to complete this year these ‘extremely innovative’ rules against tainted rainwaters that wash off parking lots, roofs, lawns, streets and gardens and pass oil, fertilizers and chemicals into the Bay," the newspaper reported.
Also on Tuesday, WYPR “Maryland Morning” show host Sheilah Kast will lead a panel discussion on the value of a healthy Chesapeake Bay to the region’s economy, environment, culture and history. Among those participating will be Dr. Russ Brinsfield, director, Univ. of Maryland Hughes Center for Agro-ecology; Dr. Kent Mountford, historian, ecologist and author of “John Smith’s Chesapeake Voyages;” Bill Street, executive director of James River Association; Rich Batiuk, chief scientist, Chesapeake Bay Program; and Billy Rice, a lifelong waterman.
To listen to a live webcast of the event, go to: www.chesapeakebay.net.