We’ll know on September 10 – will Lucy move the ball again, when Charlie Brown tries to kick it?

For decades, Federal, state, and local officials have promised to “Save the Chesapeake Bay.”  Six months ago, the latest president signed yet another Executive Order to determine what to do.

Maybe we’ll see more studies-on-a-shelf and more hand-wringing.  Maybe we’ll see another delaying exercise that avoids the tough, expensive decisions that are required, if we expect to have any real impact.  Maybe we’ll see yet another list of “specific programs and strategies to be implemented’ – someday, far far in the future.

Then officials at all levels can say we’re working on it, while we continue business as usual.  If so, everyone can keep poisoning the bay gradually, with excessive sediment carried by urban/suburban stormwater, agricultural runoff loaded with excessive phosphorous, and so much wastewater that even the small amount of permitted nitrogen will still fertilize algal blooms.

Or maybe, just maybe, there’s a recognition now that we’ve reached the limit;  our streams and the bay can’t absorb more pollution without degrading significantly.  After we see the Federal agency reports due on September 9, we’ll have a clue about this Administration’s Executive Order will make a difference.  When we see the regulations adopted and the money appropriated to implement the policies, we’ll know if times have changed.

Maybe Lucy won’t pull the ball away.  Maybe Charlie Brown gets to kick it this year, and we see action strategies that gore oxen, upset various interest groups, and trigger changes in the same ‘ol-same ‘ol business as usual.  If the reports based on the Executive Order have substance, then we can start to play ball on cleaning up the streams in Prince William and every other jurisdiction, and start to restore the health of the Potomac River and the Bay.

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