Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Doublespeak on the Chesapeake

This Letter to the Editor was sent to the Baltimore Sun on January 13, in response to an article in yesterday's paper titled "EPA's new rules to limit development, farm runoff into Bay."

The Chesapeake Bay at its deepest is about 174 feet. The rhetoric about cleaning up the bay runs to much more impressive depths. Every politician, of every partisan stripe, has spun the same campaign tale about saving the Chesapeake. For decades, decades, Maryland politicians have been saying all of the right things about cleaning up the Bay, yet still here we are, with nothing but speeches.

In an Executive Order from the spring of 2009, President Obama fell in at the back of an august line of chattering Chesapeake politicos. The Executive Order cites the many failures of various state policies to make much of a difference in the Bay’s health, as the impetus for the federal government taking a leadership role in restoring this “national treasure.”

Now the EPA has begun creating new rules and regulations for storm water management, a commendable goal to be sure. But out of the public eye, the administration is actively taking steps to undermine its own so-called commitment to the Chesapeake.

In one of Maryland’s few remaining rural counties, near the headwaters of Tuckahoe Creek on the Eastern Shore, the Obama administration has decided to convert 2000 acres of open space into a diplomatic security training facility. At a time when the Bay struggles with pollution and the impacts of development, this facility would add to the already immense burden.

This development undermines on the one hand what the Obama administration seeks to do on the other. The Chesapeake has always taken a back seat as nearly unfettered growth elbowed even the best intentioned protective measures right out of the way. As we’ve seen for years, words will not restore the Bay. If the Obama administration is sincere about cleaning up the Chesapeake, it might start by holding itself accountable, and pull the plug on the Ruthsburg-Centreville training facility.

1 comment:

David said...

Looks like Obama and Babs must have read your blog. Bye Bye FASTC