…27 years after the Bay states and EPA signed a second Bay agreement pledging to reduce pollution and save the Bay by 2000.
…14 years after the Bay states and EPA signed yet another Bay agreement, Chesapeake 2000, pledging to save the Bay by 2010.
…five years after all agreed a saved Bay wasn’t going to happen by 2010, and that the Clean Water Act and common sense required more aggressive action, accountability, and results.
…three years after EPA created a science-based “pollution diet” for the Bay, quantifying how much pollution the Bay could safely handle and directing the states to reduce pollution accordingly.
…three years after Virginia, Maryland, and the other Bay jurisdictions produced state-specific plans to achieve the diet by 2025. These “Clean Water Blueprints” call for major reductions in polluted runoff, the only major source of Bay pollution still on the rise.
…three years after Virginia approved new statewide rules to reduce runoff.
…two years after the Virginia General Assembly directed local governments across the state to take responsibility for reducing local polluted runoff by July 2013.
…one year after Virginia granted every locality a year’s extension and appropriated $35 million to help them pay for local, on-the-ground runoff control projects.
And so it’s January 2014, and comes now great angst in Virginia and Maryland over having to (finally) comply with requirements to reduce local runoff pollution. In the current Virginia legislative session, bills are piling up to further delay or weaken Virginia’s polluted runoff control programs. In the Maryland legislature, efforts are afoot to reverse course and do away with, delay, or alter stormwater utility fees critical for funding local runoff reduction projects.
All this blowback from the two states most closely identified with the Chesapeake Bay, its history, culture, and resources and arguably the states with the most to lose ecologically and economically from dirty water, polluted rivers, and an ailing Bay.
It’s January 2014. It’s time to act. Many say it is the moment in time to deal with pollution and finally clean up our streams, rivers, and the Bay. In Virginia, conservationists are calling for “No delay, no dilution, no exemptions.” In Maryland, the mantra is “Crab cakes, not CRAP cakes.”
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
(Photos: top, Jennifer Carr/South River Federation; middle, Krista Schlyer/iLCP; bottom, CBF)