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Cleaning Chesapeake “Investments Toward A Huge Clean-Water Payoff”

PHOTO: Investing in the health of Chesapeake Bay would have a big payoff, according to a clean-water group's analysis. Photo by Krystle Chick and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
PHOTO: Investing in the health of Chesapeake Bay would have a big payoff, according to a clean-water group's analysis. Photo by Krystle Chick and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
March 9, 2015

RICHMOND, Va. – Investing in the health of the Chesapeake Bay would have a big payoff, according to a clean water group's analysis.

An economic report by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation found cleaning up the Chesapeake would be worth $22 billion a year for the states in the bay's watershed.

Harry Campbell, executive director of a state office for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, says a polluted bay means Virginia and the other states risk losing communities that have depended on the Chesapeake for hundreds of years.

"For centuries,” he emphasizes. “Sustains cultures such as the watermen who rely upon oysters and crabs. Without this clean water, the communities are endangered."

According to the foundation, Virginia would see benefits worth more than $8 billion a year from cleaning up the Chesapeake – more than any other state. The report - The Economic Benefits of Cleaning Up the Chesapeake – is on the CBF's website.

Business groups and farmers sometimes criticize clean water rules as bad for economic growth. But Campbell points out the steps that the state needs to take to clean up the bay also will bring good financial results for businesses, and especially farms.

"Improved herd health,” he stresses. “The reduction of over-application of fertilizers. Keeping soils healthy. Almost immediate returns to farmers' bottom lines."

Cleaning the bay's tributaries requires things such as better sewage treatment systems and better management of fertilizer and animal-waste runoff from farms.

Campbell says detailed, workable pollution reduction plans have been in place for years. But he says they often have been left largely uncompleted.

"We have the plan, we know what we need to do,” he states. “The challenge before us is providing not only the leadership, but the resources to implement what needs to be done."



Dan Heyman, Public News Service - VA