The long-running effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay to health has reached a critical juncture. The current restoration effort known as the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for the Bay established 2017 as the first of two key deadlines. By then, the state and federal partners were to have in place 60 percent of all projects, practices, and policies needed to reach final pollution reduction targets by 2025.
The James River watershed in Virginia is particularly vulnerable to the consequences of climate change. It faces higher than average sea-level rise, intensifying precipitation rates, and increased hurricane risks. As major storms cause serious and potentially toxic flooding in the James River watershed – and elsewhere in the United States – residents are reminded that the industries surrounding them are not doing enough to plan and adapt to our changing world.
CPR's June 2020 fact sheet describes the threat of toxic floodwaters resulting from more and more severe weather events combined with a concentration of industrial facilities subject to flooding in the Hampton Roads region. Such toxic floodwater events would have a particularly severe impact on low-income and minority communities in the region.
CPR analysts Darya Minovi and David Flores submitted a public comment on Virginia's draft air pollution permit for a proposed natural gas and diesel-burning power plant at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth. Citing CPR's Toxic Floodwaters study of the James River Watershed, the letter explores the risks of harm that the facility and others in the area pose to the low-income and minority fenceline communities already disproportionately burdened by industrial pollution.