augusta free press news

CBF calls on EPA to hold states accountable to Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint

chesapeake bay foundationThe EPA released its evaluation of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland’s draft Phase 3 Watershed Implementation Plans on Friday.

Once final, these plans will provide the roadmap for each state to meet its commitments to reduce pollution under the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint by 2025. The EPA is a critical part of the saving the Bay because it provides oversight and enforcement of the Blueprint. If any jurisdiction fails to take the appropriate actions, EPA has promised to hold them accountable.

While Virginia and Maryland’s plans are on track, Pennsylvania’s draft plan falls drastically short of its pollution reduction goals, and Pennsylvania’s leaders are not providing the resources necessary to implement the plan and protect their waterways. This endangers the future of the Bay and the people that rely on it.

EPA’s evaluation of Pennsylvania’s plan is inadequate. It did not demand further pollution reduction or outline consequences for failure.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) President Will Baker said:

“EPA’s failure to take action will reverse the Bay’s fragile recovery. Now more than ever, EPA must hold the states accountable. This is especially true for Pennsylvania. The Commonwealth’s draft plan will not accomplish the pollution reduction targets it promised to meet. The Pennsylvania legislature continues to deny farmers the investments they need to protect ground water, restore local streams, and reduce pollution. We have one last chance to get this right.  If EPA doesn’t fully exercise its oversight responsibility, efforts to save the Bay will be lost. CBF will do everything in our power to prevent that from happening, including considering our legal options.”

EPA’s review of Virginia’s Clean Water Blueprint

Highlights of EPA’s evaluation of Virginia’s proposed plan include:

  • EPA found that Virginia’s plan will allow it to meet its pollution reduction goals by the 2025 deadline;
  • EPA supports Virginia’s call for legislation that ensures livestock will be fenced out of streams and scientific management of nutrients on most cropland;
  • EPA supports Virginia’s proposal to require additional reductions in pollution from wastewater treatment plants, and;
  • EPA calls for more detail on how Virginia will assure adequate funding for stormwater management and other strategies outlined in Virginia’s Blueprint.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation Virginia Assistant Director Peggy Sanner said:

“While the EPA found that Virginia’s Blueprint will keep the Commonwealth on track to meeting clean water goals, adequate, reliable funding and practical implementation details for key programs will be essential to making this plan a reality. Support from Virginia’s legislators will be crucial to ensuring full restoration of Virginia rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay.”