Congressional Letter Voices Concerns Over EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Enforcement

Twenty members of Congress wrote Friday to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeking answers on whether the Agency is prepared to force states to comply with Chesapeake Bay pollution reduction goals. The move comes after the Chesapeake Bay Program Director Dana Aunkst reportedly described Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) targets as “aspirational.”

Nine members of Maryland’s congressional delegation along with eleven other members that represent the Bay area have several questions for the EPA. In their letter to the Agency they express concerns that the EPA is not ensuring states will have their TMDL plans implemented by 2025. As previously reported on Conduit Street, Governor Hogan has announced Maryland will be taking legal action against both Pennsylvania and the EPA for the same reason.

The letter seeks to determine whether the EPA believes TMDL goals are enforceable, and if so, whether the EPA intends to compel states to comply. Members of Congress have given the EPA until January 24th to answer their questions.

From the letter:

The Bay TMDL has made strong progress towards the cleanup of this national treasure and economic engine in our region. We are at a critical moment, when all partners must step up their commitment to reach 2025 goals. The EPA has a statutory obligation to be an enforcement backstop in this vital project, and we fully expect it to fulfill that role.