Federal oversight

It’s not clear what the executive order’s direct impact might be on the 17 million people who live in the bay watershed, but it could lead to new requirements for upgrading sewage treatment plants and other utilities and limits on developers and on farmers and homeowners who fertilize their fields and lawns with nutrients that seep into the bay.
   The announcement came at a meeting of the Chesapeake Executive Council, the body of elected officials from the 64,000-square-mile bay watershed that has overseen the cleanup effort. The group, whose members include the governors from five states and the D.C. mayor, conceded last fall that their states were woefully short of goals established in 2000 that were to have been met by next year.

From a Washington Post article this week, about President Obama’s action giving new protected status to the bay and its tributaries, thereby shifting responsibility & enforcement power from the state governments in the region to the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

3 Replies to “Federal oversight”

  1. At the risk of looking stupid again, I have to ask, is this a good thing? I don’t mean this in any ‘deep’ way, I just don’t get the situation.

    P.S. I always think of it as cheapskate bay. How is it pronounced, chess-a-peake?

  2. Not stupid at all, Chris! I don’t mean to celebrate this development in the ongoing Bay disaster history, only to note it. There’s an implicit political question, or set of questions, as you suggest (intentionally or not). E.g., what does it say that after decades of talk, the states — their govts. & other responsible institutions — can’t seem to make the least real headway in cooperation against a major regional environmental breakdown? Do we have no better options than this federal agency dependency? Is the EPA’s assumption of new authority going to help us do what we should have been doing in some form already, or is this new layer of government interaction just going to give competing interests new ways of fighting? It’ll be interesting to see where we are with this in a few years. I hope we’ll find that the trajectory of the Bay’s condition, at least, starts to reverse.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *