Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Following the Money Migration on Chesapeake Bay

At least $15 billion.

That’s how much federal, state and non-governmental organizations in Maryland have spent to restore the Chesapeake Bay, an analysis by The Capital found.

But when asked recently how much has been spent since plans were hatched to save the bay, a range of experts and officials said they just don’t know. That includes the head of the Chesapeake Bay Program, now coordinating federal work on the bay.

And the results are equally elusive:

Since 1985, the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus flowing into the bay has decreased. But officials have missed several restoration deadlines and fallen short of goals.
As has been documented here many times.
Tens of millions have been spent on programs critics consider nearly ineffectual, including a state and federal effort to recover the bay’s oyster industry.
As has also been documented here many times.
And since 2009, the state has transferred at least $135 million designated for bay cleanup to the general fund.
Former MD Governor Martin O'Malley
It was an old favorite Maryland trick, a special tax for a particular purpose, repurposed for the state's bottom line.

But the hits outweigh the misses, said Gov. Martin O’Malley. “It is a total bull... cop-out to say we’ve spent money there and it didn’t work,” Gov. Martin O’Malley said. “(The) hell it didn’t. (The bay is) still alive. But we can get smarter, we can get more effective.”
I'm seeing signs that the Bay is getting better. But their elusive, much like the money. At least it's not getting much worse, currently. Certainly some has been spent to good effect, but I'm pretty sure that a lot has gone off to the great administrative black hole, and given to friendly non-profits for work of dubious value.

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