In her spare time, Michelle Ryan scuba dives in the Chesapeake as part of an environmental group that builds oyster reefs.
She says the water is so polluted, it's sometimes impossible to see her hand in front of her face. "It's like diving with your eyes closed," Ryan says. "Yes, it's that bad."
Until recently, cleaning up the bay has been a state responsibility, which many environmentalists say has resulted in polluters receiving little more than a slap on the wrist.
But now, under an executive order from President Obama,the EPA has been given unprecedented authority to force states and businesses to clean up the Chesapeake.
"Our job here is really to improve the performance and accountability of the Chesapeake Bay Program," EPA Advisor Charles Fox says. "That will include some additional federal oversight where that's appropriate."
And early next week, Senator Ben Cardin(D-Md) and Representative Elijah Cummings (D-Md) will introduce bills to expand that executive order to give the EPA even more authority over the Chesapeake.
David Schultz reports...