(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—Beth McGee, Chesapeake Bay Foundation Director of Science and Agricultural Policy, issued this statement following the release of Chesapeake Bay Program data on modeled reductions in pollution. The Bay Program data shows that the region met reduction targets for phosphorus and sediment, but missed the mark for nitrogen.
The Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, implemented in 2010, is unlike past state/federal voluntary agreements. It includes pollution limits, state-specific plans to achieve those limits, two-year milestones to evaluate progress, and consequences for failure. In it, the states also committed to implementation of 60 percent of the practices necessary for Bay restoration by 2017 and finishing the job by 2025.
"It is no small feat that the region, as a whole, met its phosphorus and sediment goals. However, success in upgrading sewage treatment plants masks serious gaps in reducing pollution from agriculture and urban runoff. Unless efforts to tackle these sources are accelerated, we will not achieve the 2025 goals.
"Despite these shortfalls, we are seeing improvements in the Bay's health. Those improvements, though, are at risk. Trump Administration proposals, including slashing funding from EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program and rolling back regulations on emissions from power plants and vehicles threatens pollution-reduction progress. Air pollution is responsible for roughly one-third of the nitrogen that is damaging the Bay."