(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is supporting Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s effort to pursue legal actions against the EPA and Pennsylvania for that state’s deficient Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan.
Gov. Hogan announced this afternoon he directed Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh to begin the legal actions to attempt to hold Pennsylvania accountable.
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation first sued EPA in 2009 for its failure to enforce the Clean Water Act regarding Chesapeake Bay pollution. The settlement to that lawsuit established the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, or Bay TMDL, which set a pollution reduction requirement for each state in the Bay’s watershed.
Last year, Pennsylvania submitted to EPA its most recent plan to reduce Bay pollutants. The plan included an annual estimated funding gap of more than $300 million and fell 25 percent short of the state’s requirement for reducing nitrogen. Meanwhile Maryland and Virginia’s plans were mostly on track to meet their pollution reduction goals by 2025, although Maryland must make more progress on reducing pollutants from agriculture and stormwater runoff.
Pennsylvania is the lynchpin of the Chesapeake Bay cleanup. The state makes up the bulk of the Susquehanna River’s watershed and the Susquehanna supplies about 50 percent of the freshwater that enters the Bay.
For several months, CBF has been considering a second lawsuit as EPA has failed to vigorously enforce the Blueprint.
In August, CBF sent a letter to Gov. Hogan in his role as Chairman of the Chesapeake Executive Council urging him to take a leadership role and to consider ways to hold Pennsylvania accountable if EPA failed to move forward with enforcement.
In response to Gov. Hogan’s directive today, CBF President Will Baker issued the following statement:
“We commend Gov. Hogan for pursuing legal options. The Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint requires all states in the watershed to do their part and EPA to hold them accountable. So far, Pennsylvania’s elected officials have not made the investments needed to meet their clean water commitments. And EPA’s failure to impose consequences puts the entire cleanup at risk.”