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Chesapeake Bay Group Cites Pollution Data Concerns (1)

June 22, 2022, 8:35 PMUpdated: June 22, 2022, 9:05 PM

The current pace of reducing agricultural pollution in the Chesapeake Bay is off track, an advocacy group said Wednesday.

As part of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, the bay’s jurisdictions are committed to implementing practices and programs that will lead to restored water quality in local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay by 2025. The Chesapeake Bay Program—whose leadership includes Environmental Protection Agency officials—on Wednesday released its modeled estimates of pollution reduced over the last year.

The jurisdictions have achieved 49% of their nitrogen reduction goal and 64% of their phosphorus reduction goal, according to the Chesapeake Bay Program’s modeled estimate.

“While we continue to see reductions in pollution from agriculture, the pace is insufficient to achieve the 2025 goals,” Beth McGee, Chesapeake Bay Foundation director of science and agricultural policy, said in a statement. “In addition, it is troubling that pollution is increasing in other areas like wastewater in Maryland.”

“While we’re encouraged by recent federal funding commitments, farmers and conservationists working to reduce pollution need more help,” McGee said.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is also pushing for Pennsylvania to increase investments in clean water. The state has only achieved 22% of the 2025 reduction goal for nitrogen, 48% of the reduction goal for phosphorus, and 45% of the reduction goal for sediment.

“CBF is encouraged by the new data which shows that the Blueprint is working but concerned that we are not on track to meet the 2025 deadline,” the group said in a statement. “Notably, Pennsylvania is far behind the other states, which is why CBF, other citizens, watermen, and four of the seven bay jurisdictions have sued EPA to require the Commonwealth to do its fair share.”

Virginia has reached 75% of the reduction goal for nitrogen, 68% of the reduction goal for phosphorus, and 100% of the reduction goal for sediment. Maryland achieved 58% of the reduction goal for nitrogen, 74% of the reduction goal for phosphorus, and 100% of the reduction goal for sediment.

(Updates with additional reporting. )

To contact the reporter on this story: Nyah Phengsitthy at nphengsitthy@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Zachary Sherwood at zsherwood@bloombergindustry.com