Monday, June 25, 2012

Carroll County Stiff Arms State, EPA on Bay Diet

 OK, three Chesapeake Bay posts in one day might seem excessive, but this one seems significant:

Carroll County Refuses to send the state its local Watershed Implementation Plan
Unhappy with how the state has estimated the county’s nutrient reduction requirements, Carroll County planning staff will not submit the county’s local Watershed Implementation Plan to the Maryland Department of the Environment.

Counties are required to develop a local plan with strategies that help the state reach its pollution mitigation goals to clean up the Chesapeake Bay and state waterways. The goal is to lower the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus getting into the state’s waterways. Counties must submit their plans to the MDE by July 2.

The Maryland Department of the Environment wants to work with the county so that the state can meet its water quality goals.  “If the county does not submit a plan, MDE will assume Carroll County will implement standard strategies from the state plan that will meet our statewide water quality goals,” said MDE spokeswoman Samantha Kappalman. “If no progress is made to implement the strategies, then MDE can begin to look at some of the permits under its legal authority for ways to encourage the county to implement those strategies.”
I'm curious what sort of leverage the State would have over a County to force it to go along.  It's probably a good thing to have one or two counties resist the state to find out what their "or else" really is.  At some point, the state gets into the business of punishing the people who vote them into office and pay their bills; I'm curious to see how that will work out in the long run.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has said that if the state does not meet its water quality goals, it would impose consequences which will affect federal permits that the state issues, such as wastewater, stormwater and animal feeding operations, Kappalman said.
That's the EPA's stick; "if you don't work it out, we'll decide, and frankly, we don't give a $#!* about you, so you better do it yourself."

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