Green DC: Lawsuit Threatened Over Chesapeake Recovery

Environmentalists, former politicians, fishing groups and conservationists have come together to form a coalition that is pursuing a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The lawsuit is the result of several delays and a lack of effort by local government to fulfill the Chesapeake Bay recovery plan. The groups are seeking a federal court order that will force new deadlines on local and state government so the Bay cleanup can be completed by 2015.

Originally, the government planned to complete the Bay project by 2010. The EPA has essentially admitted that they will be unable to meet that deadline.

For years, groups with an interest in a clean Chesapeake Bay have tried using less dramatic strategies to urge more expedient action by government. Unfortunately, those tactics were not effective and many feel a lawsuit is their only option.

For years, runoff from roads, parking lots and homes have contributed to an unhealthy nutrient level in the Bay that chokes wildlife and creates "dead zones." Those who make their living fishing and crabbing in the Bay have essentially become unemployed as new limits on fishing volume have been created to protect dwindling populations.

The EPA is arguing that they aren't totally responsible for the slow progress on cleaning up the Bay. They claim human population growth in the ecosystem is contributing more pollutants than can be addressed. Regardless, they admit things could have been run more efficiently.

This group pursuing the lawsuit is frustrated after working with government officials to sign three agreements to clean-up the Bay by a certain date. Each agreement has failed and now they feel a lawsuit is their only existing recourse.

To read the full Washington Post story on the EPA lawsuit, click HERE.

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