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. Further, 2018 marks the end of the “midpoint assessment” period for the Bay TMDL, during which major policy decisions will be made to guide the Bay cleanup plan toward its completion in 2025.
CPR is keeping careful watch on this unfolding process and will preview and recap each of the forthcoming decisions, evaluations, and events as they happen. We've created a one-stop shop for all of our staff and Member Scholar analyses, organized into several themes, below. Click on the section headers for all the resources, and sign up here to get regular updates delivered to your email inbox.
Accountability in the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Plan
Because past attempts to restore the Chesapeake Bay have repeatedly failed, EPA and the Chesapeake Bay states developed an “accountability framework” to keep states and federal partners on track with their pollution reduction targets under the new Cleanup Plan. But most states are lagging behind their targets, and we have ample reason to be concerned that EPA’s commitment to the Bay may also be wavering.
State-by-State Assessment CPRBlog Post: Choose Clean Water Coalition's Mariah Davis assesses Bay states' progress on their respective Watershed Implemenation Plans (WIPS): Part One: New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia and Part Two: Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC.
Bay Journal Op-Ed: 'Stopping Rules' Would Say When It's Time to Shift from Debating to Acting. David Flores on how to prevent endless studying from standing in the way of action.
Midpoint Assessment CPRBlog Post: Why the Upcoming Release of EPA “Expectations” for the Bay Plan Is Worth Watching. Evan Isaacson.
Bay Journal Op-Ed: If EPA is prevented from enforcing clean water laws, states must step up. Evan Isaacson and Jackie Guild explain why states need to pick up the slack for EPA in enforcing pollution violations to maintain accountability for meeting Bay pollution targets.
Report: Countdown to 2017. Evan Isaacson and Rena Steinzor describe the factors contributing to lagging progress as the Bay TMDL reaches its midpoint.
TMDL Oversight CPRBlog Post: EPA Releases 2016 Assessments for Chesapeake Bay States. Evan Isaacson.
TMDL Oversight CPRBlog Post: Chesapeake Bay Program Releases 2015 Watershed Model Estimates. Evan Isaacson.
Climate Change and the Chesapeake
The 2010 Chesapeake Bay TMDL committed the partner states to accounting for climate change in their cleanup planning. But in their final TMDL implementations plans, the states delayed until 2021 addressing the millions of additional pounds of nutrient pollution that scientists say will result from increased precipitation and warming waters.
Bay Journal Op-Ed: State pollution permitting must be reformed to adapt to climate change. CPR’s David Flores urges state regulators and climate change specialists to view the state pollution permitting process as a tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Resource: States will have to account for climate change in cleanup plans. The Bay Journal summarizes the major midpoint assessment policy decisions states will have to make with respect to future climate-induced pollution..
Midpoint Assessment Letter to Principals’ Staff Committee: On behalf of members of Choose Clean Water Coalition, “Inclusion of Climate Change in Phase III WIPs.” Letter co-authored by David Flores with members of Choose Clean Water Coalition’s TMDL workgroup, which Evan Isaacson co-chairs.
Bay Journal Op-Ed: Bay jurisdictions’ no-action policy puts restoration in peril. CPR’s Rena Steinzor and David Flores make the case that states must both acknowledge and address the impact of climate change on the Bay cleanup.
Midpoint Assessment CPRBlog Post: If Chesapeake Bay Jurisdictions Are Serious About Restoration, They Must Take Climate Change into Account. David Flores describes the flawed process and unsatisfying outcomes of Bay partners’ deliberations leading up to Phase III WIPs decisions in March 2018.
Midpoint Assessment Letter to Principals’ Staff Committee: On behalf of members of Choose Clean Water Coalition, “Adopting Proposed Policies for Addressing Climate Change Considerations in the Jurisdictions’ Phase III Watershed Implementation Plans.” Letter co-authored by David Flores with members of Choose Clean Water Coalition’s TMDL workgroup.
Baltimore Sun Op-Ed: Bay Cleanup Must Factor in Climate Change. David Flores argues that Bay partners must take bold action to address climate-attributable pollution and increase resilience in the watershed.
Resource: Guiding Principles, Policy Provisions and Implementation Guidance for Addressing Climate Change Considerations in the Jurisdictions’ Phase III Watershed Implementation Plans. Chesapeake Bay Program, Climate Resiliency Workgroup.
Resource: Conowingo, growth, climate may threaten Bay cleanup deadline. An article from the Bay Journal.
Midpoint Assessment Letter to Principals’ Staff Committee: On behalf of Chesapeake Bay advocacy groups, “Adopting Options from ‘Guiding Principles and Options for Addressing Climate Change Considerations in the Jurisdictions’ Phase III Watershed Implementation Plans.”
Toxic Releases CPRBlog Post: David Flores presents new research into the climate vulnerability of industrial sources of pollution in the James River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay.
Baltimore Sun Op-Ed: Preparing for hurricanes should not fall to ratepayers. CPR’s Matthew Shudtz and Evan Isaacson argue for a progressive approach to raising revenue to support climate resilient infrastructure.
Climate adaptation CPRBlog Post: Climate-Related Catastrophes Require Proactive Solutions and Preparation. Evan Isaacson surveys the status of climate adaptation planning in Bay jurisdictions in the wake of deadly flooding in Ellicott City, Maryland.
Accounting for Growth
The states are expected to develop programs to offset the new pollution associated with population and economic growth. But they failed to hold the line on pollution from new sources, making their job much harder as they try to reduce pollution from existing sources.
Midpoint Assessment CPRBlog Post: What Happens on the Land Happens to the Water. Evan Isaacson.
Midpoint Assessment CPRBlog Post: What the Failure to Account for Growth Looks Like in Maryland. Evan Isaacson.
Midpoint Assessment CPRBlog Post: Holding the Line on New Pollution While We Clean Up the Chesapeake Bay. Evan Isaacson describes the failure by states to adhere to EPA’s expectation under the Bay cleanup plan that states account for growth in pollution. Evan Isaacson.
Midpoint Assessment Maps: What the Failure to Account for Growth Looks Like in Maryland.
Pollution Growth CPRBlog Post: Clean Water Laws Need to Catch Up with Science. Evan Isaacson describes how regulators need to use modern technology and new scientific understandings about the sources of pollution in order to control the impact of development.
Unregulated Pollution and Toxic Contaminants
In Chesapeake restoration efforts, much of the attention is focused on reducing nutrient and sediment pollution. But many local waters and communities are threatened by a multitude of toxic water pollutants. Addressing threats to our most polluted waters and vulnerable communities requires regulation of emerging and toxic pollutants.
Resources for Bay Advocates:Reducing Industrial Stormwater Pollution: Four Tools for Bay Advocates and Targeting Industrial Stormwater: Advocates’ Tools to Protect Waterways and Communities from Local Sources of Toxic Contaminants. David Flores, Sylvia Lam, Evan Isaacson.
Report: Toxic Runoff from Maryland Industry. David Flores and Sylvia Lam.
Toxic Releases CPRBlog Post: Threat from Climate-Induced Spills Goes Beyond Superfund and Toxic Release Inventory Sites. David Flores presents new research into the climate vulnerability of industrial sources of pollution in ta tributary of the Chesapeake Bay.
Report: Trading Away Clean Water Progress in Maryland. Evan Isaacson and Abel Russ examine the impact that pollution trading has on the regulation of toxic and other water pollution.
CPRBlog Post: The Unclean Water Rule. Evan Isaacson describes how attempts to weaken federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act can hamstring efforts to address certain pollution.
Toxic Releases CPRBlog Post: Toxicity, Trading and Watershed Restoration: Seeking a More Holistic Approach. Evan Isaacson.
Pollution Trading CPRBlog Post: Trading Away the Benefits of Green Infrastructure. Evan Isaacson describes how nutrient trading reduces investment in pollution practices that can reduce toxin-laden sediments.