EPA Sets Pollution Limit for Bay | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

: News

EPA Sets Pollution Limit for Bay

Play associated audio

By Sabri Ben-Achour

187 million pounds. That's how much nitrogen can safely be allowed into the bay, say scientists at the EPA. Last year, the bay got about 50 million pounds too much. Nitrogen, along with other nutrients, most notably phosphorous - flow into the bay and create giant corridors of dead water, low in oxygen, where fish and other creatures struggle to breath.

"It can come from different sources, it can come from ag, it can come from wastewater treatment plants, stormwater runoff, air deposition. But there's only so much a bay can handle and still function as a safe water body meeting water quality standards," says Sean Garvin is the EPA administrator for our region.

Each state in the bay's watershed (Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York) and the District of Columbia now have individual pollution limits, and each will have to figure out how to stay under them.

Specifically, states will have to come up with "Watershed Implementation Plans" by September 1st.

These plans will include measures to reduce runoff from agriculture and stormwater, and may well mean a slate of new legislation affecting urban development and agriculture.

On Wednesday, a Senate committee released a bill sponsored by Maryland's Senator Bill Cardin to provide $2 billion in funding to help pay for runoff reduction, and to codify the EPA's Chesapeake goals into law. The bill is facing opposition from the American Farm Bureau, and it's not clear that it will pass.

By the end of September, EPA will announce the next step, something called the "Total Maximum Daily Load" for the Bay and each state. TMDLs, as they're known, are how much pollution can go into the bay on any given day, and waterways will be monitored to determine if states are meeting their goals.

The states will be expected to have most of their plans in place by 2017. The final deadline for Chesapeake Restoration is 2025.

NPR

Nazi-Era Art Cache Brings Provenance Issues To Swiss Museum

Audie Cornish talks to Jonathan Petropolous, professor of European History at Claremont McKenna College, about the acceptance of Nazi-era art by the Museum of Fine Arts Bern in Switzerland.
NPR

Sandwich Monday: The Thanksgiving Hot Durkey

For this week's Sandwich Monday, we make our own holiday turkey — out of hot dogs.
NPR

Hagel Steps Down After Discord On Syria, Iraq

President Obama announced the defense secretary's resignation Monday morning. Chuck Hagel clashed with White House adviser Susan Rice on Syria policy, and he never made it into Obama's inner circle.
NPR

Half The Battle Over Net Neutrality Is Defining What It Means

President Obama's call for stronger net neutrality rules touched off a round of heated debate. Broadband companies and their allies say the plan is tantamount to "regulating the Internet" and would hurt innovation. But net neutrality advocates say otherwise.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.