Thursday, September 29, 2022

Virginia, Maryland, D.C. intend to sue EPA on Chesapeake Bay pollution

Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia filed a notice of intent to sue the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to require two other states to implement plans to cut pollution in the Chesapeake Bay, officials said Monday.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh filed the notice of intent to sue with District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine. They say the EPA has failed to require Pennsylvania and New York to develop and implement plans to achieve 2025 Chesapeake Bay restoration goals as required by an agreement by states in the watershed of the nation’s largest estuary.

“The Chesapeake Bay is one of our country’s most valuable natural resources,” Frosh, a Democrat, said. “Restoring the health of the Bay will take a coordinated, multistate effort with every state sharing the burden. EPA has abandoned its responsibility to regulate and manage the efforts of the Bay states. Together, we fully intend to hold EPA accountable and require it to perform its regulatory duty.”

The officials contend EPA has a duty to ensure states that are part of the Chesapeake Bay Agreement meet what’s known as a “pollution diet” that sets limits for nitrogen and phosphorous pollution and reduces sediment. They say a recent EPA evaluation found that Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia will meet their reductions by 2025, but plans from Pennsylvania and New York fall short of reduction goals and lack sufficient funding. They criticize President Donald Trump’s administration for letting the two states avoid the agreement.

“As the administrator of the Chesapeake Bay Agreement, EPA must treat each of the partners equally and make sure every state is pulling its weight and upholding its portion of the agreement, but instead, the Trump EPA simply rubberstamped plans that are plainly inadequate,” Herring, a Democrat, said.

William Baker, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, said the EPA has failed to uphold its responsibilities under the Clean Water Act.

“This has been ongoing for years, well before the COVID-19 pandemic, and the damage done will last far beyond the pandemic,” Baker said. “It is essential the courts hold EPA accountable. There is no doubt that if Pennsylvania and New York fail to do their fair share the Bay will never be saved.”

John Mangalonzohttp://wydaily.com
John Mangalonzo (john@localdailymedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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