Speak Up for the Bay
need your help. But first, some background. It is now nearly one year since
the official launch of the federal/state
strategy to dramatically reduce nitrogen,
phosphorous, and sediment pollution to
the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
And it has been a year marked by some
good news for the Bay.
A new research study has shown that we’re
making progress. The Bay’s dead zones
have shrunk measurably since federal and
state efforts to reduce pollution began in
the 1980s. The gains are modest, even fragile, but the trend in is the right direction.
National Pork Producers Council, the
National Corn Growers Association, the
National Chicken Council, the U.S.
Poultry & Egg Association, and the
National Turkey Federation have filed a
lawsuit in federal court to stop the strategy.
So has the National Association of Home
Builders. These huge, well-financed,
national trade associations are trying to
stop the best chance we have to get our
CBF President Will Baker
mark strategy to reduce pollution in our
Chesapeake Bay is at risk. The result? The
stream that runs through your neighborhood, or the river that runs through your
town, will be more polluted in 5 years,
And it gets even worse. The U.S. House of
Representatives has passed two bills that
would stop the strategy. In early
Here is more good news: since the new
strategy was announced last December,
large and small communities across the
Bay watershed have begun doing their
part: reducing pollution entering their
waterways. In some cases, those deci-
sions will mean that citizens’ utility bills
will go up—never a popular choice, and
particularly when the economy is weak.
But they’re doing it.
And there is more. All around the Bay
watershed, farmers and landowners are
also stepping up to do their part. I’ve
seen wonderful examples of farmers reducing their fertilizer runoff, managing their
manure better, and fencing their animals
out of streams. They are proud of the contribution they are making and grateful for
the cost-share assistance state and federal
agencies are providing.
November, a House committee held yet
another Alice in Wonderland “hearing”
where crazy mistruths—mostly from the
first two groups in the previous paragraph—were allowed to stand unchallenged and Congressmen competed to
encourage the whoppers. The
Mad Hatter reigned. Up was down and
down was up when the workable strategy
to address a century’s worth of pollution to
the crown jewel of the world’s estuaries was
labeled as bad.
I need you to
speak up...to remind
your local officials,
your state officials, and
your federal officials
that we must get
serious about reducing
pollution now. ”
If you weren’t committed to making the
Chesapeake Bay and the water in your
town better, you wouldn’t be reading this.
So I need you to speak up. I need you to
remind your local officials, your state
officials, and your federal officials that
we must get serious about reducing pollution now. Speak to them. Write to
them. Sing to them if that works for you.
But tell them to implement the Bay-wide
plan. If they voice concerns about a
computer model or simply “bad science,” ask them if they are really worried
that pollution might be reduced too
much. They need to get on with their
jobs. If they keep arguing, tell them to
Here is my vision. In five years, saving the
Chesapeake Bay will be cited repeatedly as
one of the great examples of a bi-partisan
success story. Elected officials will feel
proud to have done their part. All they
need is a little nudge from you now.
Actually, some may need a big nudge.
It is that willingness to contribute that is
going to save the Bay, and all of the rivers
and streams that are part of this great
Our website, cbf.org/tmdl, will show
Sadly, there also is bad news. The American
Farm Bureau Federation, the Pennsylvania
Farm Bureau, the Fertilizer Institute, the
With all the competition for our attention
these days, it’s easy to ignore such injus-
tices. But make no mistake; this land-