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Chesapeake Bay cleanup in works

The Associated Press

ANNAPOLIS — States in the Chesapeake Bay watershed are working to get a new cleanup agreement ready by October with clearer goals and greater flexibility and transparency.

This would be the fourth Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement in 30 years intended to spur improvements. The last agreement was signed in 2000.

The Capital of Annapolis reported on Sunday that the new compact would reflect many of the same broad goals as past agreements but with some changes.

It includes strategies spurred by a 2009 presidential order for a “pollution diet” — involving total daily maximum load rules — established by the Environmental Protection Agency. The order requires water pollution reductions by 2025.

For the first time, the agreement would include the “headwaters” states of New York, Delaware and West Virginia, in addition to Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.

According to a working draft of the document released last week, it includes six goals: sustainable fisheries, vital habitats, water quality, healthy watersheds, land conservation and public access.

Chesapeake Bay Program Director Nick DiPasquale said the agreement is a way to harmonize federal, state and local efforts to improve the bay.

Negotiations are continuing on issues such as toxic chemicals, climate change, land use planning and stewardship.


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