After decades of effort, the voluntary, collaborative approach to restoring the health and vitality of the Chesapeake Bay— the largest estuary in the United States—has not worked and, in fact, is failing. A diverse group of 57 senior scientists and policymakers have joined forces to save the Bay. This is our plan.


The Session of the Bay

(Posted by Erik Michelsen)

In preparing for the 2012 Maryland Legislative session, the memories of largely unproductive sessions for the environment in 2010 and 2011 were very fresh. The combined environmental community – the Clean Water, Healthy Families coalition – resolved to be more focused, to pursue a direct request of legislators, and to focus on goals that would have a measurable impact on improving water quality. Continue Reading

Perdue’s PR Campaign of Deceit

(Posted by Bob Gallagher)

A group of legislators, following a script conceived by the public relations machine of Perdue and the Maryland Farm Bureau, have joined in Perdue’s unprecedented effort to derail an environmental lawsuit that has singular importance for the Chesapeake bay watershed. The effort is unprecedented in the extent to which Perdue and its enablers are attempting to use the media and the political process to win a case that they have as yet been unable to win in court.

Here is the story.

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Maryland Clean Water Legislation Awaits Committee Votes

(Posted by Gerald Winegrad)

Maryland’s 2012 General Assembly Session is now more than halfway over, and while elected officials are currently focused on the state’s budget, several pieces of important Chesapeake Bay legislation that would help clean up our waters await committee votes.

Today the Executive Council of the Senior Scientists and Policymakers for the Bay delivered this letter to key legislators in support of the following legislation that is in line with our 25-step “action plan,”  specifically with respect to science-based recommendations to control agricultural pollution, foster clean development, upgrade septic systems, and improve wastewater treatment plants:Continue Reading

Goodlatte Again Attempts to Block Bay Restoration Efforts

(Posted by Gerald Winegrad)

In his continuing efforts to undermine Chesapeake Bay restoration, Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) has introduced HR 4153 along with Rep. Tim Holden (D-Penn.). The legislation is another attempt to prevent the EPA from implementing the long-awaited, court-ordered Chesapeake Bay restoration plan known as the Chesapeake TMDL (total maximum daily load). The pollution diet under the TMDL was necessitated by the Bay states’ repeated failures over decades to meet agreed upon reductions for nutrient and sediment pollutants so as to clean-up the 90% of the Bay that is so polluted that the Clean Water Act is violated. Continue Reading

Va. Rep. Goodlatte Aims to Quash Bay Cleanup

(Posted by Dawn Stoltzfus.)

As has been rumored for many months — yesterday Virginia Congressman Bob Goodlatte introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that would undercut the clean water act and essentially quash the multi-state Chesapeake Bay “TMDL” pollution diet cleanup process. This would be devastating, as many Bay scientists and advocates are hopeful that the TMDL and each State’s Watershed Implementation Plans could finally provide a solution to making our waters, and the Bay, fishable and swimmable again. Continue Reading

When Farmers Talk

(Posted by Roy Hoagland.)

When farmers talk, legislators listen. And when a farmer talks in support of new farming regulations, legislators really listen.

Two Maryland farmers recently told a committee of their state legislators that they wanted to see stricter and better controls on farms. In particular, they supported new proposals that included halting the spreading of manure on farm fields during the winter.Continue Reading

‘We Must Preserve an Economic Asset’

(This ninth installment in our series, What’s It Going to Take?, looks at how the environmental community can regain the initiative and build the political will necessary to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.)

In this exclusive interview with the Bay Action Plan, Chesapeake Bay Program Director Nick DiPasquale says that the costs of cleaning the Chesapeake Bay are significant, but manageable.

“No time is a good time when you’re talking about trying to implement very costly pollution control measures,” DiPasquale said. “But when you spread that cost over the life of a project… you find that the cost to individual households is a few dollars a month. Compare it to cellphone or cable costs, it puts things into perspective.”

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Glendening, Scientists: Untreated Manure Poisons Chesapeake Bay

(Posted by Dawn Stoltzfus.) On Tuesday, February 21, 2012, members of the Senior Scientists & Policymakers for the Chesapeake Bay made their case for reducing pollution from agriculture at a hearing before the Maryland Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee. Former Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening provided a strong statement (PDF) in support of SB…Continue Reading

The Biggest Problem for the Bay: Animal Waste

(Posted by Sen. Gerald Winegrad. This op-ed first appeared in The Baltimore Sun on February 20, 2012.)

Millions of tons of one of the Chesapeake Bay‘s largest sources of pollution continue to be dumped onto farm lands without proper regulation. Farm animals produce 44 million tons of manure annually in the bay watershed, and most of it is collected and disposed of on farmland — or left where it falls.

This ranks the bay region in the top 10 percent in the nation for manure-related nitrogen runoff, and the problem of proper management of this waste is exacerbated by the fact that three highly concentrated animal feeding operation areas contribute more than 90 percent of the manure. The Delmarva Peninsula, one of these three areas, has some of the greatest concentrations of chicken farms in the country.Continue Reading

Manure to Hit the Fan on Maryland SB 594

(Posted by Sen. Gerald Winegrad.)

Everyone knows that human excrement must be sanitarily and environmentally treated before discharge into our waterways or when taken from septic tanks. What most people don’t know is that millions of tons of farm animal excrement are put into the environment totally raw and untreated. Much of the polluting nutrients and bacteria wind up in the Chesapeake Bay’s creeks and streams or in groundwater destroying water quality.

When 13 million people in the Bay watershed flush their toilets, the wastewater flows through miles of pipes and many pumping stations to the nearest treatment plant. These plants must meet stringent federal and state standards for destroying disease-causing organisms and for removing environmentally harmful chemicals and nutrients. The plants must keep comprehensive records and are repeatedly inspected for Clean Water Act compliance. The public has full access to all such records and can even sue should any plant violate its strict permit limits. Continue Reading