Federal agencies have released the seven draft reports required by President Obama’s Executive Order, which contain a range of proposed strategies for accelerating cleanup of the Bay and its vast watershed. The draft reports and an executive summary are available at http://executiveorder.chesapeakebay.net
The draft reports collectively call for increased accountability and performance from pollution control, habitat protection and land conservation programs at all levels of government, including an expanded use of regulatory authorities to address pollution control and additional voluntary and market-based solutions particularly when it comes to habitat protection and land conservation programs. Federal agencies are also proposing new ways to harness the latest innovations in science and technology.
The draft reports are the first step in the creation of a new strategy for restoration and protection. The reports include a variety of strategies and options for addressing issues such as water quality, public access, landscape conservation, climate change, scientific monitoring and the protection of living resources.
During the past 120 days, 10 federal agencies collaborated to develop the draft reports. The recommendations in the reports were shaped by consultations with the six states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and the District of Columbia, as well as suggestions from stakeholders and the public. During the next 60 days, the Federal Leadership Committee will evaluate the proposals and consult with Bay jurisdictions to refine the recommendations. On November 9, the Federal Leadership Committee will release a draft strategy that integrates the seven reports. Release of a draft strategy and revised reports will initiate a public comment period that concludes in early 2010. A final strategy will be completed by May 12, 2010.
Cardin Releases Details of Chesapeake Bay Program Reauthorization Bill
U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Water and Wildlife Subcommittee that has jurisdiction over the Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program, this week released details of the Chesapeake Bay Ecosystem Restoration Act of 2009. The Cardin-authored reauthorization gives state and local governments of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Area strong new enforcement tools and more than $1.5 billion in new grant authority to restore the Bay’s health and for the first time sets a firm deadline of May 2020 for all restoration efforts to be in place.
The bill also establishes a flexible pollution trading program that is designed to lower compliance costs while also providing Bay watershed farmers with added financial incentives to implement conservation practices on their lands. In addition, the bill puts the force of law behind a recent Executive Order from President Obama that requires every federal department to work toward Bay restoration.