Cumberland Times-News

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June 16, 2014

Chesapeake Bay panel signs agreement

Governors decide to give states 90 days to file action plans to fight pollution

— ANNAPOLIS — Governors from states neighboring the Chesapeake Bay signed a new agreement Monday that will require state officials to submit plans in 90 days on how they specifically plan to fight pollution in the nation’s largest estuary.

That’s a departure from previous agreements by states in the watershed that environmentalists say will help boost accountability in how well states meet goals.

Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley hosted a meeting of the council and a signing ceremony that included the governors of Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania and the mayor of the District of Columbia. The agreement, an update to the last one signed 14 years ago, marks the first time that states in the bay watershed have pledged to work toward goals beyond water quality. This agreement includes plans for addressing environmental literacy, toxic contaminants and climate change.

“We have made a big shift when it comes to the cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay,” O’Malley said at a signing ceremony at the City Dock in Annapolis with the bridge spanning the bay in the backdrop. “Instead of praying for a better result 20 years from now, we are taking better actions today in order to achieve better results tomorrow. It’s about actionable goals. It’s about measureable goals.”

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, noted he will be reviving a commission on climate change in Virginia that has been dormant for four years.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, a Democrat, said while some of the work to fight pollution involves regulations, but much involves making the right investments.

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