Bay Journal Op-Ed: Incorporate Climate Change Into Bay TMDL Standards

In a Bay Journal op-ed (2017-12-14), Rena Steinzor and David Flores argued that climate change effects need to be factored into the pending nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment reduction targets under the third phase of the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). The columnists urged Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Secretary of the Environment Benjamin Grumbles to push for the incorporation of climate change into the Bay TMDL model and goals. From the op-ed:

Doubts about whether climate change is caused by humans and threatens the planet are rapidly going the way of urban legend….Reliable scientific research shows climate change is also compounding pollution in the Chesapeake. Rainfall exacerbated by these dire developments could mean millions of additional pounds of nitrogen and significantly more phosphorus reaching the Bay every year that will put restoration out of reach by 2025. …

We know from the Bay partnership’s own research that the impact of climate change on the Chesapeake will worsen substantially from 2025 to 2050 and beyond.

Ironically, computer modeling suggests the harmful pollution resulting from climate change may be significantly greater than Hogan’s favorite whipping boy for this problem — pollution from the Conowingo Dam. …

Maryland should be persuading Pennsylvania and other states to step up — on climate change and the Conowingo Dam. By signaling the lack of will and intent to address these pollution loads as soon as possible, Bay jurisdictions are ignoring what the experts know it will take to clean up the Bay. They are repudiating rigorous, peer-reviewed science and promoting a lighter — but no less significant — form of climate denialism, despite their approval of modeling that demonstrates the climate-related pollution rates; nor have they voiced any objections to its rigor.


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