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September 2010

Obama Makes Case to a Reluctant Virginia


Virginia officials have been resisting new federal efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay through the issuance of pollution limits in a new Bay pollution “diet” (technically known as the draft Total Maximum Daily Load).

Yesterday, President Barack Obama took on these complaints during a dialogue about the economy with residents in south Richmond. And the President made the point that improving the  environment often helps the economy, instead of hurting it, as critics often claim.

“For a long time we tended to think of the environment in conflict with the economy, right? The notion was clean air, clean water is nice to have, but if it comes down to it, it's more important that we have jobs,” Obama told the audience.

“The point you're making is that clean air and clean water can improve the economy and create new jobs if we think about it in creative ways. And that's part of the argument that I've been making about clean energy,” he said.

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"The Tables Are Turned...It Is The Water That Depends Upon Us To Keep It Healthy"

Ninabethcardin All life requires water to survive.  But, increasingly, water needs people, too -– to protect it from us and the pollution we produce. 

This metaphysical connection was made by Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin, executive director of an multi-faith environmental organization called the Chesapeake Covenant Community, during a speech yesterday. She addressed a rally of more than 150 people who gathered beside Baltimore’s Inner Harbor to urge stronger government action to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. 

“For as long as we have walked upon this earth, humans have depended upon water to keep us healthy and full of life,” Cardin told the crowd at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, which included activists holding signs reading “EPA Save Our Bay” and “Clean Water is a Right.”

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"Tough Love" and the "Historic Crackdown on Pollution in the Chesapeake Bay"

Baysunset The "diet" is the talk of the town.

EPA's new proposed pollution reduction plan for the Chesapeake Bay (also called the Bay pollution "diet" or Total Maximum Daily Load) generated a wave of news stories across the region. A 45 day public comment period on the plan has begun.

Pennsylvania and Virginia officials are howling about the exercise of federal authority over state pollution control decisions. Virginia protested "costly federal mandates." "This isn't China," complained a Pennsylvania official

EPA officials said they were compelled to step in and turn up the heat on the states because most of the Bay area governments (with the exception of Maryland and Washington DC) failed to act strongly enough in their own water pollution control plans.

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EPA Finally Gets Tough and Mandates Chesapeake Bay Cleanup

Sunrise Bravo, EPA!  For the first time in three decades, the much-maligned federal agency appears to be seriously enforcing the federal Clean Water Act to reduce pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.

Today, EPA released the draft of a mandatory “pollution diet” for the nation’s largest estuary that could require an array of cleanup actions by Bay area states -- including better filtration technology on sewage treatment plants, improvements to urban stormwater systems, and regulations to reduce livestock runoff.

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Landmark EPA Bay Pollution 'Diet' to be Released Tomorrow

Crown EPA tomorrow will release a long-awaited federal plan to reduce pollution in the Chesapeake Bay, which has been nicknamed the Bay's new pollution "diet."

If you were King of the Bay, and had all the power in the world, what would you strike from the menu of pollutants that the Chesapeake must swallow every day? 

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Maryland Board of Ed.: All Students Must Have Opportunity for Environmental Education

Outdooreducation Education ain’t just about reading, writin’ and ‘rithmetic.  A well-rounded education should focus on a fourth R, responsibility, and the need for students to understand the connections between their lives and the natural world around them.

The Maryland Board of Education yesterday moved the state’s public school students toward embracing this fourth R yesterday when it voted to make environmental education a part of every student’s education.

This approval is great news, because it means that the state’s public high school students will now have a stronger foundation in environmental literacy. 

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Government Support of Fishermen Fuels Overfishing Crisis

Tuna Overfishing is not just a problem in the Chesapeake Bay. It is a growing worldwide issue, and often government subsidies to help fishermen are worsening the crisis, according to new studies.

Globally, between a third and a half of all fish species were overfished between 1950 and 2004, and this damaged not only ecosystems and economies but also public health, according to a recent series of reports in the Journal of Bioeconomics.

Because of poor management of fisheries, about 20 million people around the world suffered from undernourishment because they didn’t have seafood that is normally part of their diet, according to the article.  And the global economy also suffered, with the catch in poor nations depressed by up to 17 percent because of overfishing.

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A Fish Eye's View of the Chesapeake Bay

UnderwatergrassesHow about this for a fish-eye's view of the state of the Chesapeake Bay?  This is a shot of underwater grasses thriving near Havre de Grace, Maryland, as seen by a lensman (Octavio Aburto) looking up at an angler in a boat. I'm not sure the vision of a fisherman overhead would make the fish feel secure.  But in our view, this view is encouraging, because underwater grasses have been expanding in the Bay the last few years, which is both a sign and a source of improving water quality.

This picture was taken as part of a photography campaign to build public support for new federal clean water legislation, called the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Act, whose fate Congress may decide in the next 10 days.

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Time to Rally for Clean Water

The Chesapeake is awash in acronyms – EPA, TMDLs and WIPs. This alphabet soup can be a bit confusing. But Bay advocates in Virginia can get the skinny – and a free breakfast – at an upcoming series of Clean Water Breakfasts sponsored by CBF.

First, let’s quickly decipher the acronyms. After largely voluntary state and federal efforts over the past two decades failed to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) intends to put the Bay on a pollution diet called a TMDL (total maximum daily load).

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