Friday, September 23, 2011

How Do We Save the Bay?

Chesapeake cleanup effort murky, says GAO
States in the Chesapeake Bay watershed aren't complying with federal regulations dictating the cleanup of the Bay, and many aren't even aware what the requirements are, according to a congressional watchdog report.

In May 2009, President Obama directed eleven federal agencies, led by the Environmental Protection Agency, to come up with a strategy to bring the Chesapeake Bay into compliance with the Clean Waters Act.

The resulting Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, referenced in the report as the strategy, includes four broad goals, 12 specific measurable goals and 116 actions aimed at restoring the Bay by 2025.
 One hundred and sixteen actions?  How can anyone hope to keep track of them all?
"state officials told GAO that they are not working toward the strategy goals, in part because they view the Strategy as a federal document."

Even worse, the report continues, is that "most watershed state officials told us that they are generally unaware of what federal agencies may require of them to implement the strategy."
Last night I asked what would be the single best use of a billion dollars annually on the Bay.  It's pretty clear they don't have an answer.

Assessing progress is further complicated by the fact that the Chesapeake Bay Program and the collection of federal agencies that crafted the strategy will perform separate assessments, which "could result in confusion," the report states. "Assessments based on different indicators could draw different, and possibly contradictory, conclusions about progress."
Every agency has their own axe to grind, and so it will be almost impossible to achieve the kind of cooperation they propose.

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