Cumberland Times-News

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December 12, 2013

O’Malley named chairman of bay council

ANNAPOLIS — Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley on Thursday was named the chairman of the Chesapeake Executive Council, saying he hoped to have a new Chesapeake Bay Watershed agreement signed next year.

The Democratic governor, who served two consecutive terms as the chairman of the council in 2007 and 2008, pledged Thursday to lead the Chesapeake Bay Program into a new era of progress. The program is a regional partnership that directs preservation and restoration of the nation’s largest estuary.

There had been plans to sign an agreement at a meeting of the council in Washington on Thursday, but it has been delayed.  O’Malley said the transition of a newly elected governor in Virginia — a state that is a key bay partner — was part of the reason.

Six states — Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia — and the District of Columbia, agreed to the pollution limits regulating wastewater treatment, construction and agricultural runoff.

Farm groups have opposed the limits, saying they usurp state authority over setting land use policy and deciding how to improve water quality.

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