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May 16, 2019 by Brian Gumm

Chesapeake Bay State Plans to Protect Watershed, Reduce Pollution Fall Short

In April, states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed published drafts of the latest iteration of plans to reduce pollution and protect their rivers and streams. New analyses from the Center for Progressive Reform show that the plans fall far short of what is needed to restore the health and ecological integrity of the Chesapeake Bay.

The draft plans, known as Phase III watershed implementation plans (WIPs), were developed as part of the Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) framework that includes all the states in the Chesapeake watershed. CPR Policy Analysts David Flores and Evan Isaacson focused on three states – Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia – that are responsible for nearly 90 percent of nitrogen pollution to the Chesapeake and represent more than 90 percent of the remaining pollution reductions needed to reach the final 2025 pollution reduction target.

Isaacson examined and evaluated the draft WIPs with several criteria in mind, including new laws, regulations, and funding; contingency planning; enforcement; consistency with EPA expectations; and environmental justice. Maryland and Pennsylvania have a lot of work to do if they're serious about addressing significant shortcomings in all these areas and more. While Virginia's plan was the best of the three, the Commonwealth's draft …

Jan. 30, 2019 by Amy Sinden
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This post was originally published by JURIST.

The news on the climate crisis has been bad lately and getting worse. In the face of President Trump's continued denial and his administration's diligent efforts to roll back every shred of progress made by the Obama administration and to prop up an ailing coal industry, the warnings from the scientific community have only become more dire.

In November, 13 of Trump's own agencies released a 1,600-page report confirming that climate change is already impacting communities across the country — bringing major storms, droughts, disease, water shortages, and more. That came on the heels of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), warning that climate change is occurring more rapidly than previously thought. The report predicted catastrophic consequences if we don't make "rapid," "far-reaching," and "unprecedented" "transitions in energy, land, infrastructure, and industrial systems" …

Nov. 1, 2018 by David Flores
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This op-ed originally ran in the Bay Journal. Reprinted with permission.

Recent extreme weather — Hurricanes Harvey and Florence — caused widespread toxic contamination of floodwaters after low-lying chemical plants, coal ash storage facilities and hog waste lagoons were inundated.

Such storm-driven chemical disasters demonstrate that state water pollution permitting programs are overdue for reforms that account for stronger and more intense hurricanes and heavy rainfall events, sea level rise and extreme heat.

As the District of Columbia and the states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed prepare their final watershed implementation plans for cleaning up the Bay, two important lessons should be clear from the recent disasters: First, climate change will greatly complicate Bay cleanup efforts and must therefore be factored into planning. Second, the state regulation of pollution sources can and should be a critical component of the plan.

The potential pollution implications of climate change are many …

June 20, 2018 by Mariah Davis
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The Chesapeake Bay restoration effort is arguably one of the largest conservation endeavors ever undertaken. The Bay watershed is made up of 150 major rivers and streams and contains 100,000 smaller tributaries spread across Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. It supplies drinking water for more than 17 million residents and is one of the most important economic drivers on the East Coast of the United States.

The Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), enacted in 2010 by the Environmental Protect Agency (EPA) in collaboration with the Chesapeake Bay states, is a framework for allocating and eliminating excessive loads of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment polluting the watershed. It was designed to ensure that pollution control measures would reduce persistent dead zones in the Bay and its tidal tributaries by 2025. As part of the TMDL, the states and …

June 17, 2015 by Evan Isaacson
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We recently explored how Virginia’s progress toward meeting the 2017 interim goal for the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (Bay TMDL) is mostly the product of decades’ old financial commitments.  So, we might hope to see much of the same from Pennsylvania, a fellow member of the Chesapeake Bay Commission since 1985.  Unfortunately, despite decades of participation in the various agreements to clean the Bay, Pennsylvania’s lack of progress is the single biggest reason to worry about the future health of the Chesapeake.

Although no part of Pennsylvania borders the Chesapeake, much of the state is in the Bay watershed. Its agriculture sector alone contributes more than one-quarter of all nitrogen pollution in the watershed.  Put another way, this one sector contributes more nitrogen than the entire Commonwealth of Virginia, or more than every sector in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, and West …

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More on CPR's Work & Scholars.
May 16, 2019

Chesapeake Bay State Plans to Protect Watershed, Reduce Pollution Fall Short

Jan. 30, 2019

Cap-and-Trade Could Fill Gaps in Governor Wolf's Climate Change Executive Order

Nov. 1, 2018

Bay Journal Op-Ed: State Pollution-Permitting Must Be Reformed to Adapt to Climate Change

June 20, 2018

Approaching the Chesapeake Bay Midpoint Assessment -- Part I

June 17, 2015

PA's Dismal TMDL Report: An Opportunity for Change