March 11, 2010

Update on Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act

On October 20, 2009, Maryland Senator Ben Cardin and Congressman Elijah Cummings introduced the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act of 2009 to the U.S. Senate and House, along with 13 co-sponsors. There are now a total of 21 co-sponsors—but we need all of our Congressional delegation from the six Bay states and the District of Columbia to sign on.

This legislation looks like a no-brainer to many of us, but not to all our elected officials. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation folks are asking those who are frustrated at the lack of sufficient progress (yes, there has been some) to see if their representatives are on this list. Click here to find out.

Voluntary action by corporations and citizens and anti-pollution programs by state and local governments just didn't accomplish enough. The EPA needs to step in and carry a big stick. Current federal law does not allow EPA to ensure that all sources of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment are reduced to sustainable levels.

FYI: A term y'all might want to toss around at happy hour to impress your friends is "TMDL" as in "What do you think about the Chesapeake's TDML?"

When you look at their blank faces, you can say, "You know--Total Maximum Daily Load." When that gets you another dazed look, explain that its a kind of “pollution diet" that, if achieved, leads to the restoration of a polluted body of water. The current diet is 175 million pounds of nitrogen per year.

What can you do? According to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation website: The TMDL is to be completed by December 2010. The EPA and Bay states had public meetings throughout the watershed in November and December of 2009 to discuss the process of developing the TMDL and get input from stakeholders and the public. The states’ clean-up plans will be developed over the next year. They are expected to be available for public comment in August 2010.

Sign up to attend the March 25 Chesapeake Bay TDML Webinar from 10:00 am to 11:30 am EDT  at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/964188714