Capital Gazette: Maryland Should Sue Pennsylvania Over Bay Cleanup Failures

The Capital Gazette editorial board weighs in, advocating that Governor Hogan sue Pennsylvania, who they say is not doing their fair share to cleanup the Chesapeake Bay.

The Chesapeake Bay is a defining natural, cultural, and economic centerpiece of the state of Maryland. This unique resource has been subject to significant restoration efforts over the last decade by all levels of government in the region with varying levels of contributions. Since 2010 the EPA has set pollution reduction goals for each state in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Pennsylvania holds 35 percent of the watershed area, making them an important stakeholder in cleanup efforts. In April Pennsylvania submitted a plan that has attracted criticism from environmental advocates who say it is $250 million underfunded.

This week, the editorial board of the Capital Gazette has stated that they favor a tough approach in response. They recommend Maryland take legal action to compel Pennsylvania to increase pollution reduction efforts.

From their editorial:

It is clear that Pennsylvania has no intention of meeting its obligations to reduce pollutions flowing into the Chesapeake Bay. Gov. Larry Hogan wrote the Environmental Protection Agency in August urging it to get Pennsylvania to increase its spending in an effort to meet the 2025 “third phase” goals for cutting nutrients and other pollutants.

Environmental groups, including those that have threatened to sue Pennsylvania and the EPA to force them to stick to the 2025 goals, were united in their condemnation of Aunkst retreat. Last year, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation recommended going to court to force compliance.

Maryland isn’t the only government that has invested in meeting the targets that now appear to be moot. Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman released a statement Saturday saying state and local government must now take the lead and send a message to the EPA.

“If the federal government won’t lead this effort, then state and local governments must.” he said. “Together, we will send a message back to the EPA that we will not sacrifice our bay-dependent local economies or our children’s environment when we have already come this far.”

Prior Conduit Street Coverage:

EPA Issues Review of State Watershed Cleanup Plans