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November 2009

Drilling May Be Spreading a Golden Shadow in Streams

Dunkard Creek sign

(To hear a radio version of this story, click here)

Betty Wiley grew up here on Dunkard Creek in West Virginia.   


Betty WileyShe’s 68 now. But she’ll never forget when she was a kid, playing in this forested stream that runs between rocky hills along the Mason-Dixon line that separates West Virginia from Pennsylvania.

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Pollution Violations Without Penalties

Kalbird8 Nine water pollution law violations.  No fines.  Is that any way to discourage bad behavior?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced that it had cited nine municipalities in the Chesapeake Bay watershed for storm water pollution violations, including Baltimore and Anne Arundel County, Md.

“EPA, in partnership with states, is taking clear steps to protect the water quality of local streams and rivers,” Jon M. Capacasa, director of the Water Protection Division for EPA’s mid-Atlantic region, said in a press release.

No argument with that concept.  It would certainly be good to see EPA cracking down on polluters.  The New York Times recently ran a lengthy front-page investigative series about the federal agency’s lack of enforcement of federal clean water laws. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson responded to the articles by pledging to Congress that her agency will become more aggressive. 

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Frowning Doorman for an Underwater Condo Complex


Hey, who's making all that racket out there? Get off my shells!

This rather grumpy-looking toadfish is poking his head out of the door of his exclusive underwater condo.  He is one of scores of critters that have taken up residence in a reef ball that the Chesapeake Bay Foundation placed in the Choptank River.

What is a reef ball?  It's a whiffle-ball like sphere of concrete, with lots of openings to provide doors and windows and living spaces for fish and oysters. 

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Report: Poultry House Construction On Hold Because of Regulations

Chickens Construction of most new poultry houses on Maryland's Eastern Shore has been on hold since February because of newly-enforced federal pollution control regulations, The (Salisbury, Md) Daily Times reports. That could change on Dec. 1, when the Maryland Department of the Environment issues new surface discharge permits for poultry houses, the newspaper reports. The question of whether the federal or state governments should create regulations to control runoff pollution from animal-intensive agriculture has been at the center of a debate over a new federal proposal to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.

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Bidding War Doubles Price of Gas Drilling Leases

A fierce bidding war has erupted in Pennsylvania over leases for natural gas drilling, more than doubling the price for extraction rights, the newspaper Gant Daily reports.  Over the last four years, more than 650 wells have been dug in a shale formation that extends from the northeast section of Pennsylvania to the southwest corner, as well as into New York, West Virginia and Maryland.  Hundreds more wells are expected across the region.

Biker Gang Packs Data

Bikers Watch out for this biker gang.  They come armed not with chains and knives, but science.

More than 20 bicyclists rallied on Saturday at Roosevelt Island in Washington DC for a “Cyclist for the Bay” ride and education event.  Chesapeake Bay Foundation scientists Beth McGee and Jenn Aiosa were among those who led volunteers along the Potomac River, visiting the Jefferson Memorial, Washington Monument and historic Old Town Alexandria. 

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The Specific Flaws of the Obama Administration's Bay Cleanup Plan

Obama Was I too vague about vagueness? I feel vaguely guilty.

I would like to respond to a Bay Daily reader who thought my blog last week criticizing the Obama Administration's Chesapeake Bay cleanup proposal for its lack of specifics was itself lacking in specifics.

Marshgrasses The reader, who goes by the handle SF, asked: “What was vague? What was missing? How did this fall short?... I'd love to see a follow-up post (or a link to other articles if I've overlooked them) on what is missing, and what substantive measures you want imposed--whether by feds, states, or localities.”

First off, thank you, SF and other Bay Daily readers, for paying attention to this crucial issue. It brings me hope that folks out there are reading Bay Daily carefully and are focused enough to care.

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The Moment of Truth: Where Do Lawmakers Stand On The Bay?

Map Is your elected representative for the Bay?  Or against the Bay? 

A lot of folks talk about cherishing the Chesapeake. But for legislators, what really matters is what laws they support at defining moments – when the stakes are high, and the Bay really needs them to take a stand.

This is such a moment.  Several co-sponsors in the U.S. Senate and House recently introduced the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act, which would set legally-binding limits on how much pollution Bay area states and the District of Columbia can allow into the Chesapeake.

My colleagues Kim Ethridge and Mike Dougherty at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation created a very informative, interactive map, which you can look at by clicking here. The map lets you find who your Congressional representatives are, and if they have signed on as co-sponsors for this critically important legislation.  Once you know that, you can click here to discover what actions you can take in support of the bill.  Click here if you would like to contact CBF to find out more about how you can help.

Join our fight for clean water.