The title for this one is a riff off of a Wanda Sykes joke told at the National Press Club Dinner. If you don’t get it – watch the video.
MY President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order today to clean up the Chesapeake Bay! At freakin’ last there is hope to enjoy the Breakfast of Baysiders once more before I pass from this earth. The tasty morsel called a Chesapeake Bay Oyster. There have been wars fought in this part of the country over these bad boys, and a good number of brawls over which is best – Seaside Oyster or Bayside. And don’t even get into the discussion of whether Tangier Sound or Mobjack Bay taste better! Anyway – fried or on the half shell – this is the start to some seriously good eatin’ Chesapeake Bay style!
The Bay has been in declining shape for over 50 years. Overfishing, chemical and agricultural pollutants, and loss of habitats have driven the Bay to the point that if something isn’t done soon – it may be full of just empty, dead water. The Chesapeake Bay is the largest saltwater bay in America, with over 17,000 miles of shoreline, scientists have discovered it was made by a meteor impact.
In my lifetime, I have seen a steady decline in the fisheries, the oyster and blue crab production, and the water quality. President Nixon got the ball rolling when he recognized that visitors to the Nation’s Capital at the 1976 Bicentennial Celebration would be confronted with a highly polluted Potomac River into which millions of gallons of raw sewage was dumped every day – a national disgrace. Presidents Ford and Carter continued the good work resulting in a tremendous rebound…
Then came Raygun…
The last oyster harvest was about 470,000 (bushels), 96% less than in 1983. This summer about 17% of the Bay water had lowered oxygen levels resulting in “Dead Zones” covering about 40 miles.
The last crab harvest was about 39 million pounds, about 60% less than in 1983. A few weeks ago, it was announced that the crab population had rebounded with 50% increased over last year. The improvement was credited to harvest restrictions that need to continue to rebuild the species.
Fixing it, has been a problem of political negligence and political will with the watershed covering 6 states, and the District of Columbia – there has never been the consensus of effort to really fix things. Until now -
Obama steps up Chesapeake Bay cleanup
Federal committee created that could push states to do more
MOUNT VERNON, Va. – Calling it “a national treasure,” President Barack Obama on Tuesday issued an executive order dedicated to cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay, putting the federal government at the head of efforts previously led by the states.
The executive order establishes a Federal Leadership Committee, led by the Environmental Protection Agency to oversee restoration programs and orders the EPA to research its authority under the Clean Water Act to restore the Bay.
At a press conference Tuesday on George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate overlooking the Potomac River, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said the bay’s poor health requires an urgent federal effort in partnership with the states.
“If we come up short, this may be the last generation of watermen on the Chesapeake Bay,” Jackson said.
In recent years, regional leaders have claimed some success in reducing pollution in the bay, the nation’s largest estuary, but fisheries like blue crabs and oysters are well below their historic levels and scientists have warned of “dead zones” where nutrients like nitrogen fuel algae growth that deprives the water of needed oxygen levels.
Obama’s announcement came as the states that constitute the Bay watershed promised to accelerate their own cleanup efforts.
The six states plus the District of Columbia set goals to reduce the flow of pollutants like nitrogen and phosphorus into the Bay by the end of 2011.
The plans, for instance, call for a 6 percent reduction in nitrogen flow between now and 2011, and a 7 percent reduction in phosphorus.
Some environmentalists, though, said the states’ goals fall woefully short of what is needed to restore the bay to full health. They welcomed the executive order as a potential federal hammer that will force the states to do more.
It is not yet clear what consequences would apply to states that fail to meet their goals. The EPA is in the midst of crafting its own plan for limiting bay pollution, with specific caps imposed on each state in the watershed for nutrient flow.
John Surrick, a spokesman for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, said roughly half of the reductions called for in the states’ plans would have occurred anyway due to existing plans to reduce nutrient flow. He said the states could have set more aggressive goals, especially since there’s been an influx of federal funds dedicated to such efforts.
The foundation has said the bay could be restored to health in five years if the federal government fully enforced the Clean Water Act. The foundation earlier this year sued the EPA seeking such enforcement. Obama’s executive order cites the Clean Water Act as justification for his actions…
Now conservatives don’t believe in the environment. All you need do is look at the last 8 years of the Bushsquat administration abetted by a conservative majority for 6 of those years.
If you want to understand WHY this is important, go HERE…
And watch the movie at 8.