Society is not addressing environmental issues with a sense of urgency. Changes in the environment tend to occur over many years, occasional peaks of improvement can obscure overall downward trends, and society frequently overlooks the economic, cultural, and psychological benefits a healthy environment provides. Climate change in particular is high on the list of the environmental issues that society neglects to tackle with earnest.
This week, Attorneys General Brian Frosh (MD) and Mark Herring (VA) took a stand against climate change, joining 16 other attorneys general in support of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Power Plan. The plan, which seeks to reduce greenhouse gases from fossil-fueled power plants and increase renewable energy, is currently being challenged by special interests from the fossil fuel industry and attorneys general from two dozen other states.
For Frosh and Herring, climate change is not a distant threat—it's happening before our eyes, and can be witnessed in the Chesapeake Bay. In throwing his support behind the Clean Power Plan, Frosh stated, "Rising sea levels are claiming islands in the Chesapeake Bay, and extreme weather events threaten neighborhoods, homes, and our natural resources." Herring is in full agreement, stating, "Climate change isn't some theoretical idea or academic exercise...Climate change is real. And here in Virginia, we're already dealing with the consequences...In the last 75 years, the sea level in Hampton Roads has risen by 2 feet—2 feet."
Despite this grim reality, it is encouraging not only to see Frosh and Herring speak out about climate change but also the bipartisan Maryland Climate Change Commission setting high goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, aiming for a 40% reduction by 2030. From combating climate change to fighting for clean water, tackling environmental issues with a sense of urgency clearly starts with one central component—leadership. We applaud the men and women who stand up for smart, science-backed policies, and will always support them in our work to Save the Bay.
This Week in the Watershed: Major Kudos, Dirty Water, and High Standards
- Bravo to Senator Ben Cardin (MD) and Director of Horn Point Laboratory at the University of Maryland Michael Roman, for compellingly articulating the need to restore oysters in the Chesapeake Bay. (Baltimore Sun—MD)
- Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection just received a report card with alarming results. To put it mildly, there's room for improvement. (Patriot News—PA)
- Major kudos to Attorneys General Brian Frosh (MD) and Mark Herring (VA) for their decision to stand with the Environmental Protection Agency in support of the Clean Power Plan. (WBFF—MD)
- Virginia farmers received good news learning they can apply for funding to fence livestock from streams. Not only is keeping livestock out of streams better for the animals, but it also helps the Bay and its rivers and streams. (Baltimore Business Journal—MD)
- Lancaster, PA is making great strides in its stormwater reduction efforts. (Lancaster Intelligencer Journal—PA)
- We couldn't agree more with this editorial, applauding the bipartisan Maryland Climate Change Commission for setting high carbon emissions reduction goals in the fight against climate change. (Baltimore Sun—MD)
- Weak stormwater permits and lack of monitoring throughout Maryland has all but guaranteed the state won't meet its urban stormwater requirements under the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint. The projected shortcoming is particularly concerning given that stormwater is the fastest-growing source of urban pollution. (Bay Journal)
- While implementing agricultural best management practices is the cheapest and most effective way to reduce pollution fouling the Bay and its rivers and streams, it still costs money. In this light, it is severely disappointing that Bay-specific conservation measures have received significant cuts in funding. (Bay Journal)
Lend Your Voice for Clean Water!
- The Susquehanna River is sick. For far too long, agricultural runoff, acid mine drainage, and polluted urban runoff have been fouling the Susquehanna River. This toxic brew threatens a powerful economic engine, a part of Pennsylvania's heritage, and the critters that call the river home. In the coming weeks, Pennsylvania’s leaders have a chance to step in and start cleaning up our river, but if we want them to act, we must speak out in these next few crucial days. Stand with CBF and its partners in urging Governor Wolf and Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to save our river by listing the Lower Susquehanna River as impaired.
What's Happening Around the Watershed?
- Luray, VA: Get your hands dirty, planting trees on a Virginian farm! This forested buffer will filter polluted runoff and cool streams. Click here for more info!
- Cambridge, MD: Help CBF plant 800 native trees to restore a four-acre buffer to the Chicamacomico River. The farm, which is legally protected from development, now works with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore wetlands that provide wildlife habitat and filter runoff. This area is critical habitat for the federally-listed Delmarva fox squirrel and coastal-dependent birds including salt marsh sparrows and American black duck. Click here to register!
- Easton, MD: Volunteer to staff the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's exhibit in the iconic Waterfowl Festival! Lend a hand for just a few hours teaching the community about CBF's work on the Shore and enjoy the sights, sounds, and flavor of the beautiful Eastern Shore. Contact Hilary Gibson at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up!
- Onancock, VA: Meet new people, learn all about water quality issues on the Eastern Shore, and enjoy some great food at CBF's Dine & Discuss: Fish 'n Fowl Taco Night! Receive updates on fisheries, agriculture, and water quality with a smattering of science and a peppering of policy. Eat fish and chicken tacos free of charge. A cash bar will be available. This is an adult-only event. Reserve your spot today!
- Virginia Beach, VA: Three to four volunteers are needed to staff a CBF display table at a local oyster roast! Volunteers will share current information with the attendees and enjoy this very informal event that includes all you can eat oysters with a portion of the proceeds going to CBF. For more information contact Tanner Council at email@example.com or 757-622-1964.
- Washington, D.C.: Join CBF at Greenbuild, the world's largest conference and expo dedicated to green building. The green building community gathers to share ideas and mutual passion at Greenbuild, with three groundbreaking days of inspiring speakers, invaluable networking opportunities, industry showcases, LEED workshops and tours of the host city's green buildings. Click here for more information!
- Easton, MD: Attend CBF's Oyster Expo for a night of all things oyster! Staffed by leading scientists from around the region, this event will feature a variety of family-friendly exhibits, movies, and displays that bring to life the ongoing work to support the iconic Chesapeake Bay oyster. Learn about current oyster restoration projects and what you can do to help. Click here to register!
- Chestertown, MD: Come on out for a Bay Panel Discussion featuring farmers, environmentalists, and local residents talking about the challenges and success in the effort to achieve a healthier Chesapeake Bay while continuing to produce food. Click here for more information!
—Drew Robinson, CBF's Digital Media Associate