EPA Sued to Force Restoration of Degraded Chesapeake Bay Waters


photo: Andrew Bossi

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, along with a coalition of partners has filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the District of Columbia which seeks to force the EPA to enforce laws requiring the reduction of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay to levels that the bay can be removed from the federal ‘impaired waters’ list.

Speaking on why the action was taken CBF president William Baker said,EPA Has ‘Abdicated Leadership’

Over the last eight years the EPA, which has the responsibility to lead the effort to enforce the Clean Water Act, has abdicated leadership and weakened regulations that would have reduced pollution. The rule of science and the rule of law have been subjugated to political dogma and a policy of deregulation that has wreaked havoc from financial markets to environmental protection. Science has provided a roadmap for Bay restoration and EPA has the tools to get the job done. The Bay is still polluted due to the lack of political will.

Though there have been three agreements between the EPA and the states bordering the bay to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, going back as far as 1983, the EPA has acknowledged that the latest goal for cleanup of 2010 will not be met.

Efforts EPA Should Take
Among the efforts the CBF would like to the EPA to take are the following:

  • Requiring EPA to commit to achieve 80 percent of the pollution reduction goal by 2012, with full implementation by 2015.
  • Requiring EPA to take an active role in wastewater treatment plant permits to ensure compliance with pollution reduction goals and that there will be no net increase in pollution loadings.
  • Requiring tough construction stormwater permits at sites that discharge into impaired waters.
  • Requiring all power plants that generate air pollution that affects the region’s waterways to install existing technologies that would reduce that pollution.
  • Requiring that new and existing agricultural conservation funding be geographically targeted to practices that achieve the most pollution reduction.
  • Requiring that a portion of federal transportation funding be directed to stormwater management on highways.

According to the Chesapeake Bay Program, most of the waters of the bay are degraded, with much of the bay’s fish and shellfish population at historically low levels.

Partners in the lawsuit are the Virginia State Waterman’s Association, the Maryland Waterman’s Association, the Maryland Saltwater Sportfisherman’s Association, former Maryland Governor Harry Hughes, retired Maryland Senator Bernie Fowler, former Virginia legislator and Natural Resources Secretary Tayloe Murphy, and former Washington DC Mayor Anthony Williams

More: Chesapeake Bay Foundation and ENS
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Tags: Pollution | United States

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