Will We Save the Bay? Virginia Looks For Loopholes…

W. C. Fields was famous for living well, rather than living “good.”  When in his later years he was caught reading the Bible, he quipped that he was looking for loopholes.

Maybe that’s what Virginia is doing now, regarding the requirement to quit sending excessive amounts of pollution into the Chesapeake Bay.  All the other states and the District of Columbia completed draft Watershed Implementation Plans by the September 1 deadline.

Virginia failed to submit anything to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Why did Virginia fail to submit its plan?  As quoted in Bloomberg Businessweek, the state “needed a slight extension to ensure that the governor was fully briefed on Virginia’s response.”

Reducing pollution to meet the Clean Water Act standards for the Chesapeake Bay is not a new issue.  Virginia officials have been promising to do their part to clean up the state’s pollution since the 1980’s.  A Federal judge has finally established a legally-enforceable date for EPA, six states, and DC.  (Even if a different president takes office in 2013, the judge’s order remains in effect.  EPA’s push to clean up the Bay is a reaction to the judge’s deadline, not a voluntary initiative of the Obama administration.)

It’s not the end of the universe for Virginia to be a laggard, the only jurisdiction to miss the September 1 deadline imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  However, it’s an ominous sign that the latest set of state officials, just like the previous ones dating back to the administration of Governor Charles Robb, have the gift of gab but not the capacity to act.

In the meantime, you can see how much Virginia has accomplished already.  After nearly 30 years of claiming Virginia was making progress in meeting Clean Water Act standards so people can swim/fish in the Bay and it can support aquatic life, the “impaired” portion of the Bay that fails to meet water quality standards is colored in red.

(Yeah, it’s 100% red…)


2 comments so far

  1. deltavilleoysters on

    What will save the bay? Each and every one of us doing as much as we can in our own individual lives. (This includes voting for the right people and taking action against companies violating the law and our environment)

    Quality & Sustainability

  2. Jonathan P. on

    Wow, that map is certainly shocking. One of the major difficulties with stormwater is that very little of it can be narrowed down to that one thing/company/etc. over there is what is causing the issue. Often times stormwater pollution is cumulative, and happens gradually over time. I work for a company that makes stormwater filtration inserts to address the non point source nature (and point source) of stormwater pollution. We believe that if you’ve waited until a treatment facility you’ve waited too long. To solve these types of issues you need to go upstream and get as close to the source of pollution as possible. Whether it’s trash and debris, sediment, oil and hydrocarbons, or dissolved heavy metals the solution starts near the source of contaminant introduction. If you wait until the levels are high enough downstream, you’ve waited too long. http://www.cleanwayusa.com

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