After decades of effort, the voluntary, collaborative approach to restoring the health and vitality of the Chesapeake Bay— the largest estuary in the United States—has not worked and, in fact, is failing. A diverse group of 57 senior scientists and policymakers have joined forces to save the Bay. This is our plan.

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Category Archives: EPA

Nutrient Trading: Our Concerns

(Posted by Bill Dennison)

Nutrient trading is the buying and selling of nutrient reduction credits that have a monetary value for the reduction of either nitrogen or phosphorus loading to the waterways. The concept of nutrient trading is to unleash free market forces for nutrient reduction strategies, similar to the approach used with carbon trading to address global warming.

Nutrient trading is a relatively new concept in ecosystem restoration that has been initiated for the Chesapeake Bay. Using the new Google analysis tool (‘ngrams’), nutrient trading only appears in the literature around 1990, but has increased rapidly, with a doubling of citations roughly every three years. There is excitement about nutrient trading as a new approach, and this excitement is evident in the various policy statements explaining nutrient trading. Along with this excitement, there is considerable skepticism also evident, and the issue is often emotive.

The Senior Bay Scientists and Policymakers group has reviewed the status of nutrient trading as applied to Chesapeake Bay restoration. We found that there are a variety of different definitions for nutrient trading being used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state agencies, and that there is a lack of data and case studies to support or refute assertions about nutrient trading. The fact that nutrient trading is complicated, emotive and data poor makes this approach one that deserves close scrutiny and scientific rigor. Within the Senior Bay Scientists and Policymakers group, our nutrient trading report is a carefully crafted consensus between fairly intense and polarized viewpoints and it took quite a bit of effort to strike this balance.
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It’s Time to Put Up or Shut Up

(Posted by Chris Trumbauer Anne Arundel County Councilman

(This is fifth in an ongoing series of posts on What’s It Going to Take?: A look at how the environmental community can regain the initiative and build the political will necessary to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.)
Whats It Going to Take?

If your family is like mine, the struggling economy is making every household economical decision a critical one. I cringed when I got my latest fuel oil bill and turned the thermostat down a couple of degrees to try and lessen the pain of the next bill. My wife and I both own fuel-efficient cars, but we still restrict driving as much as possible to delay filling up our tank as long as we can. Like many families, we are putting off important purchases, hoping to get a little more time out of a pair of shoes or a winter coat.

None of this, however, dampens my strong desire for clean water and healthy air. Pollution is pollution whether it contaminates our environment in a recession, or in an economic boom.
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No More Bay Business As Usual

(Posted by Fred Tutman.)

(This is fourth in an ongoing series of posts on What’s It Going to Take?: A look at how the environmental community can regain the initiative and build the political will necessary to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.)
Whats It Going to Take?

Who doesn’t want to see our Bay, rivers, or streams restored to health? So it raises the legitimate question of why something coveted by so many, continues to elude us? The irony is that virtually everybody wants clean water until they have to actually sacrifice or take proportional measures in order to get it. Sure, clean water is great as long we can win the next election, make the maximum profit on the next construction job, maintain the waterfront view, get jobs and economic development, and if nobody will get upset.
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Change You Must Believe In

(This is the second in a series of posts on What’s It Going to Take?: A look at how the environmental community can regain the initiative and build the political will necessary to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.)

(Posted by Doug Siglin.)

What's It Going to Take? The New York Times’ Leslie Kaufman recently reported that in the wake of Congress’ failure to enact carbon-limiting climate change legislation, several national environmental organizations are changing tactics. She wrote: “On the strategy front… a three-prong approach is emerging: fight global warming by focusing on immediate, local concerns; reinvigorate the grass roots through social media and street protests; and renew an emphasis on influencing elections.”

I hope she’s right, although with a couple of exceptions, I don’t yet see much evidence that national groups are really moving in the direction of the locally oriented political work that Kaufman cites.
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Partnering for a Clean Bay: Providing Locals the Necessary Resources to Achieve Success

(Posted by Brenton McCloskey)

It takes the dedication and hard work of communities, businesses, individuals and – most of all, committed partnerships – to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. With the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) prescribed “pollution diet” mandating new reductions in the Bay watershed, partnerships are essential now more than ever.  In order to meet the EPA’s target date to improve the Bay by 2025, the combined efforts of these concerned citizens and organizations is essential to successfully fulfilling these goals.

Local governments have been asked by the State, via federal mandates, to submit individual Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs) to meet local water quality goals. With the EPA requirements on a fast-track, it is important that Maryland maximize its available resources to ensure the Bay is healthy and economically viable now and into the future.
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Keeping CAFOs Undercover: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell & Keep Polluting

(Posted by Scott Edwards.)
Next year will mark the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act. In the four decades since this seminal water protection legislation was passed, there has been tremendous headway in controlling many of the worst sources of industrial toxics in our nation’s waterways, particularly from those end-of-the-pipe “point sources.” Unfortunately, though, there’s one industrial point source that continues to evade any meaningful CWA regulation — Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs. Now, after many years of failing to implement effective CWA provisions to clean up this highly polluting industry, the Environmental Protection Agency is engaging in an information gathering process to consider how best to regulate the country’s tens of thousands of industrial animal farms. Sadly, all indications are that EPA is still not taking its mission seriously when it comes to CAFOs.
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