An energy bill moving through Congress could strip Maryland of its rights under the Clean Water Act to require a permit for Exelon Energy Corporation to operate the Conowingo Dam, which discharges 40% of all the nutrient and sediment pollution into the Chesapeake Bay from the Susquehanna River.
Pines on the Severn, a small community on Chase Creek, off the Severn River just above Annapolis, recently completed a living shoreline, a project that can show us all how much perseverance it sometimes takes to do the right thing for the environment, and why it’s worth it.
The Clean Chesapeake Coalition, a group of seven Maryland counties formed in 2012 to challenge the priorities and science of the $14.4 billion cleanup mandate for the Bay, is again sparring with environmental groups it says continue to ignore the Susquehanna River as the single largest source of pollution that flows into the Bay. This time the debate is over a proposed moratorium on chicken houses, the biggest industry on the shore.
We’re closing on 40 years since William Warner, a New York-New Jersey boy, awakened us Chesapeake natives to the fascinating commerce, ecology and sociology attached to Callinectes sapidus, that beautiful swimmer, the blue crab.
Perhaps it took an outsider to appreciate what us born-heres grew up with.
Warner won a 1977 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction for his efforts, and put the Chesapeake on the map in a way that should endure as long as crab feasts and crabcakes.
At the recent annual meeting of the Chesapeake Bay Program leadership, there was much talk about the importance of restoring local rivers, streams and the Chesapeake Bay, but a shortage of commitment to specific actions that will get Bay restoration back on track.
If I could amend the federal Clean Water Act, I’d include triple penalties for polluters who spend more energy pointing to other polluters than on cleaning up their own mess.
This “we won’t act till they do” dereliction has colossally delayed action to clean up the Chesapeake, and dodging the real issues has become a prime focus of conservative politicians and rural governments in Maryland.
Until someone musters billions of dollars to dredge centuries of sediment from Pennsylvania trapped behind the giant Conowingo Dam, they whine, it makes no sense for them to spend money on their pollution.
The two men running for the No. 2 spot at the Annapolis State House actually have more government management experience on their resumes than their running mates at the top of the ticket for governor.
But Democrat Ken Ulman, the two-term Howard County executive, and Boyd Rutherford, a former state General Services secretary and assistant U.S. agriculture secretary, faithfully echoed the positions of party nominees Anthony Brown and Larry Hogan Jr. as they argued with each other and even the moderator Thursday in an hour-long debate on WAMU-FM
Crisfield, the most southern Maryland town, is surrounded by water on three sides. The community rests just 3 feet above sea level — a problem if the bay rises another 2 to 5 feet. The CNS analysis found the entire city and its surrounding neighborhoods would be partially underwater at 2 feet; most would be underwater at 5. Over the past half century, Crisfield has been declared a federal disaster area at least four times because of hurricanes and tropical storms.
A 14-mile reservoir behind the Conowingo hydroelectric generating dam in northern Maryland stops two million pounds of sediment every year from flowing into the Chesapeake Bay. But another one million pounds get through, burying underwater grasses that support sea life and adding to the bay’s myriad pollution problems.
The reservoir that stores the sediment is expected to reach capacity within 20 years, after which all of the sediment will get through the dam, putting the bay’s health further at risk. The dam’s owner, the state and environmental groups are seeking solutions to the problem.
An attempt to delay implementation of stormwater clean-up fees that will cost Maryland property owners millions come July failed in the legislature’s final day. The delay died after it was attached to a bill exempting nonprofits and government agencies from the fees called “the rain tax” by critics.