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PNS Daily Newscast - September 21, 2018 


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Will All States Meet Chesapeake Bay Program's Pollution-Reduction Goals?

The Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load is a federal "pollution diet" to restore the Chesapeake Bay and its vast network of streams, creeks and rivers. (Pixabay)
The Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load is a federal "pollution diet" to restore the Chesapeake Bay and its vast network of streams, creeks and rivers. (Pixabay)
August 14, 2018

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – At the halfway point toward their unified goal of cutting pollution that flows into the Chesapeake Bay by 2025, states around the Chesapeake Bay are fighting among themselves over lackluster progress on pollution-reduction goals for the bay. At last week's Chesapeake Executive Council meeting, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who was re-elected as chairman of the council, criticized Pennsylvania and other upstream states for not doing more to stop the flow of pollution into the bay.

A Pennsylvania official agreed with the criticism, but Rachel Felver, the director of communications for the Chesapeake Bay Program, which provides resources to all states, says the Keystone State is making efforts to keep up with its agreed targets.

"They do have some work to do compared to other states as far as putting plans in place, but I can also tell you they are very invested in doing what they need to do," she says. "They've shown that as they are kind of preparing their watershed implementation plans."

The states in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement includes Maryland, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. They implemented pollution-reduction practices to meet clean-water standards of the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load by 2025.

Sixty percent of the pollution-reduction target was supposed to be met by 2017. They failed to meet nitrogen-reduction goals but were able to reduce phosphorous and sediments in time.

Felver says each state has access to resources through the Chesapeake Bay Program for technical assistance or tips on conservation practices for reducing pollution. She says the program will continue to work with the states as they create their Phase Three watershed-implementation plans.

"And these are plans that are put in place to beat their targets for reducing nitrogen and phosphorous and sediments that are flowing down into the Chesapeake Bay," she explains.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency's midpoint assessment, Maryland streams and lakes that were previously impaired by phosphorus and sediment now are showing higher dissolved oxygen levels and increased aquatic life. Since 2014, Pennsylvania has removed 17 water bodies in the Susquehanna River watershed from the impaired-waters listing for nutrients and/or sediment.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - MD