Friday, November 30, 2012

Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

Says Chesapeake Bay Foundation President Will Baker:

Collaboration, not confrontation, is better for the bay's health
Sen. E.J. Pipkin might be surprised to learn that I agree with much of what he has written, published first in The Sun on Tuesday and in The Daily Times on this page today.

For instance, the Susquehanna River, draining approximately 50 percent of Pennsylvania, is an enormous source of pollution to the Chesapeake Bay. This has been clearly established by the best scientific monitoring and modeling for decades. It is one more example of why the science behind the Chesapeake Bay restoration is the best in the world.

The impact of the Susquehanna River on the Chesapeake Bay is why the Chesapeake Bay Foundation opened an office in Harrisburg, Pa., in 1986. We have been the primary bay environmental advocacy force in Pennsylvania since then, working to reduce pollution affecting the Chesapeake. And we have had modest success in spite of tremendous odds against us.

Since then, nitrogen pollution entering the bay from the Susquehanna has been reduced by more than 15 percent. But the Susquehanna flow still has a real impact on water quality in the bay. With our mutual agreement on this fact, perhaps Pipkin would be willing to use his significant influence to arrange a meeting between the two of us and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett. If he were willing, he could make further strides in pollution reduction from Pennsylvania to Maryland that are critically needed. This would improve water quality in the surface and ground water in Pennsylvania for the benefit of Pennsylvania citizens as well.
15 percent!  Wow.  That's rounding error territory in the measurement of pollution fluxes, and far less than the annual variation.

Finally, we hope and trust Pipkin realizes Maryland must continue to use good science to further address locally generated pollution from all sources to improve water quality for our citizens, who want to enjoy the many rivers and streams that are now impaired.All of us are part of the problem, and all of us must be part of the solution. Let’s work together, and not pick polarizing fights that only serve to slow bay restoration progress.
In other words, please remove your pants, and bend over.

You might remember that a few days ago, Sen. Pipkin wrote a scathing editorial, accusing the Bay Foundation of ignoring pollution passing the Conowingo Dam as a result of its filling up, and focusing their attention on pollution from agriculture, particularly that on Maryland's Eastern Shore.  I still think it's a fair charge, as the Bay Foundation is reluctant to attack its governmental clients, the EPA and the various state environmental agencies, who would have to deal with the issue of the refurbishing of Conowingo.


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