CBF wants to link development to pollution offsets
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is asking the EPA to clamp down on pollution from new development in the watershed to reduce nutrient pollution to the Bay.
Specifically, it asked the EPA to issue no permits for developments, wastewater treatment plants or industries that would increase pollution to local waterways unless that pollution is offset by a two-to-one ratio.
The organization also wants stronger action to control stormwater runoff from urban and suburban lands, and to deny air pollution permits for all new coal-fired power plants whose emissions end up in waterways.
"We have heard that 'EPA is back and there is new leadership' and frankly, we think there is an opportunity for the new leadership to use its authority to the maximum extent feasible," said Roy Hoagland, CBF vice president for environmental protection and restoration with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. "EPA should be using its authority for stopping increased loadings into the watershed."
The EPA itself once proposed requiring two-to-one offsets for new discharges into polluted waterways, but that proposal was never adopted. It suggests, though, that the agency has interpreted the Clean Water Act as providing more authority to control pollution than it has exercised in the past.
The call came as the organization released its 10th annual State of the Bay report, which scored the Bay at 28, based on 13 indicators of fisheries, habitats, pollution and land use. According to the CBF, a 100 would represent the Bay as Capt. John Smith explored it in 1607-08, but because of changes since then, a 70 would represent the top score today.
At a news conference at which the report card was released, Chuck Fox, a senior adviser to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on Chesapeake issues, said more federal actions could be on the way.
"In our short time in office, we are already considering a range of potential actions to improve the accountability and performance of the Chesapeake Bay Program,'' Fox said. "We have 25 years of history that suggests that the accountability has been lacking and the performance has been lacking and we need to change that."
- Category: Pollution
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