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Chesapeake Bay strategies for accelerating cleanup of the nation's largest estuary and its vast watershed.



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Federal Agencies Release Draft Reports Required by Chesapeake Bay Executive Order

Federal agencies released the seven draft reports required by President Obama's executive order on the Chesapeake Bay , which contain a range of proposed strategies for accelerating cleanup of the nation's largest estuary and its vast watershed.
 
Focus is on increased accountability and performance

The draft reports collectively call for increased accountability and performance from pollution control, habitat protection and land conservation programs at all levels of government, including an expanded use of regulatory authorities to address pollution control and additional voluntary and market-based solutions - particularly when it comes to habitat protection and land conservation programs. Federal agencies are also proposing new ways to harness the latest innovations in science and technology. The proposed actions are in response to overwhelming scientific evidence that the health of the Chesapeake Bay remains exceptionally poor, despite the concerted restoration efforts of the past 25 years. 
 
"We need bold new leadership, collective accountability by all contributors to the bay's problems, and dramatic changes in policies using all the tools at hand if we are to fulfill President Obama's goal for clean water throughout the region. These reports bring us a step closer to achieving the vision we all share for the future of the Chesapeake Bay ," said U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, chairperson of the Federal Leadership Committee and the federal representative to the Chesapeake Executive Council. 
 
The draft reports are the first step in the creation of a new strategy for restoring and protecting the Chesapeake Bay and waterways in the region, as defined by the executive order.

The reports include a variety of strategies and options for addressing issues such as

  • water quality,
  • public access,
  • landscape conservation,
  • climate change,
  • scientific monitoring and
  • protection of living resources

The draft reports were also submitted to the Federal Leadership Committee that is coordinating work on the executive order. The draft reports are available at http://executiveorder.chesapeakebay.net .

Executive Order 13508 on Chesapeake Bay Restoration and Protection
 
On May 12, 2009 President Obama issued Executive Order 13508 on Chesapeake Bay Restoration and Protection, the first-ever presidential directive on the bay and the first environmental executive order by President Obama.

Multidisciplinary Federal Leadership Committee

The order established a Federal Leadership Committee, chaired by EPA, and with senior representatives from the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, Interior and Transportation.
 
Over 120 days, 10 federal agencies collaborated to develop the draft reports. The recommendations in the reports were shaped by consultations with the six states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and the District of Columbia , as well as suggestions from stakeholders and the public. Successful restoration of the Chesapeake Bay depends on the involvement of federal, state and local governments; the private sector; nonprofit organizations; and the watershed's 17 million residents. The draft reports were released to engage the public in the process outlined in the executive order.
 
The draft report on water quality includes some of the more significant potential changes to existing programs.  

In this report, EPA proposes to develop new regulations for the Chesapeake Bay to significantly reduce runoff pollution from urban, suburban and agricultural sources.
 
The report also relays EPA's intention to hold the states in the watershed more accountable for controlling pollution, through increased oversight, enforcement activities and new policies.

Urban and suburban runoff pollution is the fastest growing source of pollution to the Chesapeake Bay , while agricultural runoff is the largest.
 
The Federal Leadership Committee will evaluate the proposals in the draft reports and consult with bay jurisdictions to refine the recommendations for meeting key challenges to the Chesapeake Bay 's health.   However, the agencies will be moving forward in a number of areas before the strategy becomes final.
 
"We have an urgent obligation to citizens of today and generations of tomorrow to restore the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed, and this executive order puts new weight behind our work," Jackson said. "We're moving quickly and transparently on a comprehensive strategy that will get real results for the bay." 
 
More information on the executive order: http://executiveorder.chesapeakebay.net


Edited by Carolyn Allen, Managing Editor of Solutions For Green

Publication Date: 9/14/2009
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