Thursday, December 15, 2011

Poor Economy Slows Bay Cleanup

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley has abandoned an ambitious timeline to clean up the Chesapeake Bay watershed in the state after local governments asked for more time to implement costly Bay cleanup methods. O'Malley has sought to place Maryland at the forefront of the multistate cleanup effort spearheaded by the Environmental Protection Agency, which established "pollution diets" designed to restore the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem over the next 15 years.

But Maryland's plans to accomplish the EPA's goals by 2020, five years ahead of the federal government's deadline, were set aside after local governments asked for extra time to establish ways to meet the diet.

"In reality, 2020 was probably very optimistic," said Jenn Aoisa, Maryland senior scientist for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. "Whether it was impossible, who knows? But given the realities of the economic climate that we're in, and given the realities of some of the challenges we've seen, maybe 2020 was overly optimistic."
Sadly, the people who tend to push the hardest for environmental advances tend to be the ones that  downplay the need for economic health.  If you look around the world, it's the well off countries that can afford the luxury of stringent environmental controls.  All things being equal, people would rather live in a nice world than in a shitty world.  However, all things are not equal, and wealthy, healthy economies permit people to pursue ecological happiness.

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