One of my last memories of my grandfather is going boating on the Chesapeake Bay when I was 14. It was a special time, and a special place.
The Chesapeake Bay is a national treasure, but it's also in big trouble. The bay has been polluted for decades. It's now unsafe to swim most of the year -- and wildlife numbers have dropped dramatically.
The EPA and seven bay-area states have a great clean water plan to drastically reduce the pollution. But greedy Big Ag and several right-wing states far from the bay, including Texas and Alaska, are suing to let the polluters keep polluting.
The Chesapeake's wildlife and economy need us to clean up the bay, not undermine EPA authority. If 40,000 folks like you speak up today, it will help give the EPA the strength to resist Big Ag and the right wing at a critical time!
The suing states claim the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint violates "states' rights," but that's absurd. The seven states most impacted by the bay's pollution -- states like Virginia and Maryland -- were all key to creating the plan. As William Baker, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, points out, "This is one of the great examples of people working together across federal, state, local business and agriculture, and it's working."
With Big Ag pulling the strings and far-away states like Alaska, Wyoming, and Texas making such a weak argument, one can only assume that their opposition is really about profit -- about letting the polluters keep polluting. They don't need a reason; they'll attack anything the EPA does just because it's the EPA -- but those of us who care about justice and the environment don't need to take it anymore.
Here's what the plan does to help clean up the bay's annual dead zones and bring back aquatic wildlife like oysters and blue crabs. Runoff is the bay's leading source of pollution -- urban pollution, agricultural pesticides, sediment, and more washing into the water from hundreds of miles around. Years of voluntary actions haven't produced the needed results, so the Clean Water Blueprint limits how much nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment can enter the bay each year. It's already making a big difference.
This plan could ultimately reduce the amount of pollution in the bay by 25%, and is a model for restoring watersheds across the country. Claudia Friedetzky, from the Sierra Club's local Maryland Chapter, calls it "the best chance that we have ever had to clean up the Chesapeake Bay." Let's not let that chance slip by.