(WASHINGTON, DC)—Maryland Secretary of the Environment Ben Grumbles today told Congress the goal of implementing the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load, also known as the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint, by 2025 is legally enforceable and that Maryland is prepared to sue EPA if the agency fails to enforce it.
His remarks came days after EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program Director Dana Aunkst addressed the 2025 deadline and said that the goals of restoring the Bay by implementing the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint, were merely aspirational and not legally enforceable.
In his written testimony, Grumbles told members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that the administration of Gov. Larry Hogan “will press EPA – with help from our delegation and partners, and through litigation, if we must – to live up to its commitment, obligation and responsibility as a regulatory partner and interstate umpire who holds everyone accountable for doing their fair share for our restoration and initiatives as we strive – as a watershed – to meet our agreed-upon 2025 deadlines.”
Lisa Feldt, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Vice President of Environmental Protection and Restoration, responded with the following statement:
“CBF applauds Secretary Grumbles’ statement that the Blueprint is not aspirational and is enforceable. Governor Hogan currently is chairman of the Bay restoration partnership and his leadership will be critical to holding EPA accountable, and to litigate on behalf of Maryland if necessary. We’re thankful that Secretary Grumbles and Governor Hogan have made this strong public commitment to enforcing the Blueprint.
“For more than 30 years, voluntary efforts to reduce pollution fell short. What makes the Blueprint different are the pollution limits, individual state plans that outline what will be done to achieve those limits, two-year milestones to provide transparency on progress, and EPA’s commitment to hold the states accountable. That accountability is critical to success.
"By many measures the Blueprint is working, but this is a critical time for the Bay. With only five years until the 2025 deadline, it is the worst possible time for EPA to abdicate its responsibilities. The states and District of Columbia will either meet the commitments that have been made, or Bay restoration efforts will fail.”