|A field of debris clogs the slips at the National|
Sailing Hall of Fame, surrounding the matched Bull
and Bear sailboats
Gov. Larry Hogan set off a testy interstate exchange Wednesday as he decried a recent surge of debris and sediment flowing into the Chesapeake Bay after last month’s heavy rainstorms and charged that upstream states are failing to do their part to curb pollution.Susquehanna River makes up about half of the freshwater entering Chesapeake Bay. The top three rivers, the Susky, the Potomac and the James make up 80%. But when you see the trash that piles up behind the Conowingo Dam, it's easy to believe. Now if you said 80% of what comes into the Maryland section of the Bay, he's probably much closer to correct.
Hogan promised to raise the issue next week when he meets with governors from other states in the bay’s watershed and with officials of the federal Environmental Protection Administration.
“The upstream states — Pennsylvania and New York — need to step up and take responsibility for the debris and sediment that is pouring into our bay,” the Republican governor said. He estimated that 80 percent of the debris, sediment and phosphorus pollution entering the bay comes down the Susquehanna River and over the Conowingo Dam, a figure the dam’s owner and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation disputed.
Hogan spoke out against what he called “an economic and ecological crisis” at Wednesday’s meeting of the Board of Public Works after Comptroller Peter Franchot raised the issue.Talk about ducking the issue!
Franchot, a Democrat, called the performance of the upstream states an “absolute disgrace.” He called on all of the states in the bay watershed to “start acting as a good neighbor.”
“We’re literally drowning in Pennsylvania’s trash,” Franchot said.
The third member of the public works board, Democratic Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp, said she agreed with Hogan and Franchot.
The administration of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, struck back.
“We are disappointed at these careless and insensitive remarks from Maryland officials that both undermine the tremendous strides Pennsylvania has made in improving water quality in the Susquehanna and Potomac watersheds, and insult the many Pennsylvanians still recovering from the record floods we just experienced, where at least two of our residents lost their lives,” said Patrick McDonnell, the state’s environmental protection secretary.