RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The states within the Chesapeake Bay watershed are following a “pollution diet” to restore the environmentally hobbled estuary by 2025, governors and state officials from the watershed learned Monday.
“We are on track,” said Jeff Corbin, the Environmental Protection Agency’s senior adviser on the bay’s restoration. “The goal is to get pounds of pollution out of the bay and out of the rivers.”
Corbin delivered the interim report to governors from three bay states, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, and representatives from other watershed states. They gathered for Chesapeake Executive Council’s annual meeting. The panel establishes the policy agenda for the Chesapeake Bay Program.
The numbers released by the EPA reflect the progress of the states and the district in achieving pollution-reduction goals at the two-thirds mark of the first two-year milestone. Some states made more progress than others but collectively they are making progress in cleaning up the 64,000-square-mile watershed.
Corbin said most of the reductions were made in sewage plant improvements, some of which occurred before the reporting period began.
The pollution diet also includes efforts to reduce farm, urban and suburban runoff, which all feed into the bay, foul its waters, and harm marine life.
During brief remarks at an opening session, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said the state has concerns about the modeling used by the EPA to assign pollution reductions for the states and the “significant” costs of the water pollution control program, one of the largest ever undertaken in the United States.
In response, Jackson said she was mindful of the “tough budget realities” facing the states.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley also attended the meeting.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)