Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Chesapeake Bay Foundation Says EPA Action "Lacks Specifics"

Chesapeake Bay Foundation senior water quality scientist Dr. Beth McGee issued this statement following EPA’s announcement of how they intend to hold the Bay states and Washington D.C. accountable for reducing pollution.
“Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts have been littered with promises broken and commitments unfulfilled. As a result, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) has called for increased federal leadership, measurable goals, accountability, and serious consequences for failure to achieve pollution reduction goals.
“EPA's December 29th letter to the states and the District of Columbia outlining consequences it may take for future failures reflects the Agency's responsiveness to our demands. We commend EPA for the letter released today.
“However, while the letter lists a series of actions EPA may take, it lacks specifics about when EPA will impose those consequences. The letter lacks concrete standards that will ensure when EPA will act. By what margin must a jurisdiction miss its goals before EPA takes action, for example?
More troubling EPA said it would not use the existing authorities outlined in the letter to hold the states accountable for the pollution reduction commitments made as recently as last May. That discretionary enforcement of the Clean Water Act does not bode well for holding governments accountable in the future.
That is why the ‘Chesapeake Clean Water Act’ under consideration in Congress (sponsored by Senator Ben Cardin (MD) and Representative Elijah Cummings (MD), among others) is essential. It would statutorily require across-the-board pollution reductions, mandate consequences, promote market-based strategies, and provide technical assistance to reduce pollution.
“Organizations like the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Choose Clean Water Coalition (an organization of over 100 groups) support the ‘Chesapeake Clean Water Act’ in order to ensure pollution is reduced from all sources.”

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