A new cleanup agreement was drafted by the states near the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Ready for signing by October, the said agreement is described to have crystal clear goals and display more flexibility and measures of transparency.
The agreement is the fourth iteration of the 30–year Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement which was intended to create much-needed improvements. The last agreement prior this year was signed three years ago.
The Maryland Capital of Annapolis reported that the new agreement would have both the familiar goals stated in the past agreements and a few revisions as well. One interesting inclusion is the total daily maximum loading strategy authored by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. This has been inspired by the ‘pollution diet’ which came in effect after being backed by a presidential decree in 2009. The order stresses the drive to reduce water pollution by 2025.
The agreement has new features outlining the extension of the drive to nearby states. These include the headwater states of West Virginia, Delaware, and New York. Original states in the agreement include the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland.
At least six goals have been outlined in the agreement when its working draft was released last week. These are: land conservation, healthy watersheds, water quality, vital habitats, sustainable fisheries, and public access.
Nick DiPasquale, director of the Chesapeake Bay Program, had expressed that the agreement would somehow aid in combining various efforts coming from the federal, state, and local sectors in their goal to improve the bay. Compared with the 2000 agreement, the new agreement will be less specific and will focus more on generally stated goals and intended outcome.
So far, negotiations on issues of stewardship, land use planning, climate change, and toxic chemicals are still ongoing. In order to better adapt to unstable conditions, DiPasquale believes that strategies on improvement should have a considerable amount of flexibility.