Bay Journal

Rona Kobell

Tenacious reporters get scoop on long delayed phosphorus regs

There is a long tradition of companies and governments releasing news they do not want people to hear on Friday afternoon. This strategy works best on a holiday weekend, a summer weekend, or at the end of a particularly newsy week. The feeling is that the news organization may miss it entirely, or whatever junior reporter is unlucky enough to be on the skeleton crew won’t know...

Marylanders elect Republican Larry Hogan as governor

For the second time in 40 years, Maryland has a Republican governor.

Traditionally one of the most reliably “blue” states in the watershed, Maryland is now the only one with a Republican in the top job. Pennyslvania held that distinction until Tuesday, when Democrat businessman Tom Wolf defeated Republican Tom Corbett.

Bay scientists present Governor O’Malley their highest award

Earlier this week, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science bestowed one of its most prestigious awards on Gov. Martin O’Malley for his environmental leadership.

The Reginald V. Truitt Award, named for the founder of the Chesapeake Biological Lab in Solomons, has only been given out six times. The previous recipients include lawmakers responsible for the most...

Steel mill clean-up fund may address longstanding pollution

For the long-suffering residents of southeastern Baltimore County, MD, there is finally good news: a $48 million deal to clean up contamination at the 3,100 acre  Sparrows Point steel mill.
The mill’s new owners, Sparrows Point Terminal, LLC, entered into an agreement with the Maryland Department of the Environment and the state’s attorney general to develop and execute a...

State regulation of animal feeding operations remains uneven

The change from state permits for large animal feeding operations to more comprehensive federal ones has not been easy for states in the watershed.

The difficulty stemmed from a 2008 regulation, long in the works at EPA, that changed the definition of a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation.

Delmarva fox squirrel no longer “endangered”

The Delmarva Fox squirrel, which has been listed as an endangered species since 1967, is coming off the list.

The squirrel, which has slowly been reappearing in the forests and farmlands of the Eastern Shore after an aggressive transfer program, has recovered enough for wildlife officials to declare it no longer endangered.

Bay crabs disappearing in the water – and on restaurant plates

Recently, I had lunch with a chef friend of mine, one of the very best, who thinks keenly and constantly about the relationship between environmental sustainability and the way we eat. This chef has a strong commitment to sourcing foods locally —and has kept at it even as that notion has become increasingly expensive.

He had been talking to his crab supplier recently. The guy...

The night I feared I’d lose my leg

For years, I’ve been writing about swimmers and watermen getting serious bacteria infections from contact with the Chesapeake Bay. But I’ve also been telling people when they ask that it’s generally safe to swim in the Bay and its tributaries.  At least that’s what I used to say — until I got an infection of my own. Until I lay awake in a hotel room far away from home, wondering...

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About Rona Kobell

Rona Kobell's avatar

Rona Kobell is a staff writer for the Bay Journal. She has began her journalism career at The Jerusalem Post, then moved to Washington, D.C., to become a writer and editor for Public Risk, a trade journal. She worked for newspapers in St. Joseph, Mo., and her hometown of Pittsburgh before joining The Baltimore Sun in 2000 where she became its Chesapeake Bay reporter in 2004. Her work has won numerous awards and in 2008, she was selected as a Knight-Wallace fellow at the University of Michigan, where she spent a year studying the use of economic incentives in environmental policy.

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When the Chesapeake restoration effort began, scientists and policymakers raised red flags on the problem: continued rapid growth could easily counter any potential gains from ecological improvements. Twenty-five years later, the clean-up effort lags and the topic of growth receives little serious engagement. Even those who express concern about the true costs of growth tend to accept it as unavoidable reality, treating growth as an unquestioned force of nature that must be “accommodated.” Questioning traditional concepts of growth is avoided among political leaders and environmental groups, and little is taught or discussed in the region’s academic institutions. This makes it critical to re-examine concepts of growth, or the acclaimed bay’s restoration — and quality of life in the region — may be jeopardized.
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