The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is planning public hearings next Tuesday (December 8) in Baltimore and Friday (December 11) on the Eastern Shore to discuss how strict a pollution “diet” the state and federal government should impose on the Bay.
Just as you and I take in too many calories (sorry, I’ll leave you out of it – but I know I certainly do, especially after the kids and wife go to bed, for some reason), the Bay swallows way too many nutrients, namely nitrogen and phosphorus. This over consumption makes the waters fat with algae, which devour oxygen, causing dead zones.
The Bay area states and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are concocting a limit on pollution called a “Total Maximum Daily Load” or TMDL that should force polluters to reduce pollution. In 2008, for example, the Bay swallowed an estimated 291 million pounds of nitrogen pollution -- way above the 175 million pounds a year that would be healthy. So we need this TMDL to force some serious cuts. But the key is enforceability.
If you can make it to one of these hearings, please let the MDE know that the Bay needs a TMDL that is science-based, strict and toothy – meaning, that state or local governments will face penalties or other serious consequences from the federal government if they don’t meet their deadlines for reducing pollution.
To learn more about the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s fight for a strict pollution diet for the Bay, click here.
Below is information about the times and places of next week’s hearings:
PUBLIC MEETINGS ON CHESAPEAKE BAY "POLLUTION DIET" SET
BALTIMORE, MD. (December 2, 2009) -- Public meetings to discuss the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) are scheduled for next week in Baltimore and on Maryland's Eastern Shore. The meetings are being held to provide information on the process, approach, and implications for Maryland of the TMDL - a strict "pollution diet" to restore the Chesapeake Bay and its tributary rivers and streams.
The meetings will include information on how plans will be developed to achieve the necessary pollution reductions required by the TMDL and meet Maryland's two-year milestones for Bay restoration.
A meeting is scheduled for December 8, 2009, at the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) headquarters in Baltimore. Another meeting is scheduled for December 11, 2009, at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills.
The December 8 meeting will be broadcast on-line via webinar. Access to the audio presentations and slide shows will be provided, as well as on-line participation in the question-and-answer session. Go to https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/568237411to reserve a webinar seat. Space is limited.
The meetings are among 14 being held by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) throughout the watershed's six states (Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, and New York) and the District of Columbia from early November through mid-December 2009.
The EPA is establishing a TMDL for nutrients and sediment for the Chesapeake Bay watershed that will establish and assign the pollution reductions necessary for meeting Bay water quality standards. EPA officials will outline the Bay TMDL and receive public input during the sessions. Representatives of state agencies, including MDE, will discuss the Bay TMDL's potential impact on Maryland and how plans will be developed and implemented to meet its requirements.
A draft TMDL will be issued in August 2010, followed by a public comment period. A second series of meetings will be held during the public comment period. A final TMDL will be established by EPA in December 2010.
December 8, 2009
2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Maryland Department of the Environment, Aeris/Aqua/Terra conference rooms
1800 Washington Boulevard, Baltimore MD 21230
December 11, 2009
1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Chesapeake College, Todd Performing Arts Center
1000 College Circle, Wye Mills, MD 21679