Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan directed the state's attorney general Wednesday to pursue legal actions against Pennsylvania and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in an effort to protect Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts.As I have noted before, Maryland and Pennsylvania have very different motivations with regard to the health of the Bay. Maryland has a great deal of shoreline on the Bay. The clean up of the Bay should be worth a lot to the state. On the other hand, Pennsylvania has no Bay shoreline, and much of it's area consists of agriculture for which the Bay is the ultimate depository of the nutrients and sediments. It stands almost nothing to gain, and a fair amount to lose by enforcing the Bay diet.
In a statement, the governor's office said Hogan has repeatedly called on upstream states, including Pennsylvania, to step up and take responsibility for sediment and debris that pours into the Chesapeake Bay via the Susquehanna River.
"We have a generational responsibility to protect the bay, and we simply cannot afford to fall short of these shared obligations," Hogan wrote in the letter. "Therefore, I ask that you commence litigation against the EPA and Pennsylvania, and in close coordination with the Maryland Department of the Environment."
Read the governor's letter to the attorney general here.
According to Hogan's office, watershed states submitted in August 2019 their final Chesapeake Bay cleanup plans to the federal administration. At that time, Hogan expressed "alarming concerns" about Pennsylvania's lack of progress on clean water goals and called on the EPA to use its robust oversight powers to hold states accountable.
"Pennsylvania, which is under 'enhanced' or 'backstop' federal oversight due to failed pollution reduction efforts, has proposed a draft Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) under which it would fall drastically short of its agreed-upon 2025 pollution reduction targets," Hogan said in the statement. "The EPA currently appears to have no intention of taking the necessary action to ensure Pennsylvania's compliance with its commitments."
Which is not to say that we couldn't use Pennsylvania's help in cleaning the Bay, but it would be nice if we could offer a carrot, in addition to a stick.