Why does the
In August, the
As Maryland has pushed bay clean-up efforts to the county level, the counties have begun to question the cost-effectiveness of a clean-up plan if major storms like Lee and Sandy can undo progress. In
To this end,
One would hope that the bay's most prominent watchdog, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, would support a local government effort which demands the best science to clean the bay. Instead, CBF has demonized Funk and Bolton and charged the counties with obstructionism and worse, all while ignoring very real concerns about pollution in the Susquehanna River and the Conowingo Dam's lessening capacity to trap them.
In a November 9 letter to Gov.
It is ironic to watch the bay foundation demean the counties' use of lawyers and courts to advance their interests, as it has long used both avenues to advance its agenda. It is also curious to see the foundation downplay the importance of the sediment that threatens to spill over the Conowingo Dam.
In a November 1 press release, bay foundation senior scientist Beth McGee said, "The issue of the Conowingo's capacity to trap pollution in future years during storms is being studied, but that issue is being used as a red herring." To imply that bay pollution from the Susquehanna is a red herring highlights a suspicious shift in bay foundation priorities. I am hopeful that this does not mean that the foundation has abandoned the hope that the main stem of the bay can be restored to full health and will retreat to a focus on the improvement of local tributaries.
The main objective of the EPA's pollution diet is to reduce the bay's sediment, phosphorous and nitrogen loads. Therefore, I am mystified as to why the bay foundation is not concerned about the impact of major storms like Lee and Hurricane Sandy. Instead, the bay foundation has downplayed the impact of major storms. In an October 31 press release, Ms. McGee said, "Last year's storms Irene and Lee significantly increased pollution in the bay, yet this summer's dead zone was the second smallest since record-keeping began in 1985. This is a clear indication that the bay can handle a fall assault." Ms. McGee does not mention that sediment from last year's storms choked the bay oyster crop north of the
I am concerned that the EPA and bay foundation may not include these spikes in storm related pollution in their bay restoration models, and so are the county officials who have enlisted the aid of Funk and Bolton.
As it stands, pollution continues to flow through the currents of the Susquehanna River. The bay foundation should re-examine its ill-conceived argument that bay clean-up efforts should continue while ignoring or downplaying the Susquehanna's pollutant load and its disastrous effect on the bay.