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Federal Agencies Announce Bay Clean Up Plan

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By Sabri Ben-Achour

The EPA and five other government agencies announced their strategy for rehabilitating the Chesapeake Bay.

A year ago, President Obama signed an executive order mandating a federal strategy to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. Six federal agencies, from the EPA to the Department of Agriculture, were tasked to come up with concrete steps they would take. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced the plan today.

"We are initiating one of the most comprehensive protection efforts in decades," says Jackson.

The EPA has committed to develop enforceable limits for how much pollution states can let into the bay: that means regulating stormwater runoff from urban areas and animal waste from factory farms.

For it's part, the Department of the Interior pledged to restore 180,000 acres of wetlands and two endangered species. And the Department of Agriculture will spend $700 million dollars on 4 million acres of farmland to help farmers reduce runoff.

Administrator Jackson acknowledged this isn't the first time pledges have been made to restore the bay.

"Some of the criticism in the past has been that if you set a milestone out long enough for political reasons, folks are gone when the bill comes due," she says. "So now you have one year and two year horizons."

The tight deadlines are also backed by a settlement agreement reached just two days ago with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

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