Target: Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy
Goal: Support the implementation of an extensive cleanup plan to restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay
In 2010, following years of inaction and missed deadlines for cleanup efforts, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stepped in to save the Chesapeake Bay, exercising its Clean Water Act authorities. The “Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint” is an extensive, step-by-step plan to restore the bay’s health by 2025, if fully implemented. Arguing that the EPA is attempting to extend its power beyond what is acceptable, 21 state officials have joined a lawsuit filed against the EPA by the American Farm Bureau Federation. This lawsuit stands to threaten an ambitious effort to restore the nation’s largest estuary for the local wildlife and economy once and for all.
Animal waste and fertilizer from farm runoff have created “dead zones” throughout the bay, areas too polluted to support life, and the EPA believes there is real danger to marine wildlife, including the fish that are relied upon by the local economy. The cleanup plan would set standards for reducing phosphorus, nitrogen and sediment from rivers running into the bay, and would enforce two-year milestones for pollution goals and hold each state responsible for the plan’s implementation.
Not only will full implementation of the cleanup reduce pollution in the bay by 60 percent as early as 2017, the economic benefits of restoration will total $129.7 billion annually in natural benefits from the region’s health—such as food production, climate stability and flood protection—according to estimates from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
Robert McCartney of the Washington Post believes the lawsuit against the cleanup represents a fear that other states and their important natural resources may soon face similar pollution standards. “Of course, the plan’s opponents all insist that they want to save the Chesapeake. They just don’t want the EPA to set a deadline or say how it’s done,” writes McCartney.
Sign this petition in support of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint and the EPA’s role in putting the onus for the bay’s health with states to which it belongs.
Dear Ms. McCarthy,
The Chesapeake Bay is an important natural treasure that effects the economy and the wildlife of the states through which its waters flow. Though plans have been put forth and commitments made over the years to restore the bay’s health, most efforts have fallen short or stalled in their inception. Thanks to the Clean Water Act, the EPA now has enough authority to ensure there are no more delays in the necessary cleanup of the Chesapeake. Full implementation of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint will support the wildlife of the area, as well as the local economy.
Opponents of the plan fear that allowing the EPA to control the restoration will set a precedent for the same pollution standards elsewhere. Personally, I hope it does. I fully support the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint and the EPA’s enforcement of its goals and standards.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: delgaudm via Flickr