ANNAPOLIS, MD (December 29, 2010) - Governor Martin O'Malley issued this statement today following the Environmental Protection Agency's issuance of their final Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load:
"Today the Environmental Protection Agency confirmed that Maryland has a very strong plan to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.
"Never before has our state developed such a detailed, specific plan for Bay restoration with this level of commitment from all stakeholders, including our federal partners. I want to thank all Marylanders who attended public meetings across the State and provided hundreds of valuable comments that helped shape such a comprehensive plan.
"In September, the EPA reported that Maryland's draft Watershed Implementation Plan was the strongest of all the Bay watershed states, and today, the EPA reaffirmed that our state is a leader in this effort. Our final Plan noted key improvements in reducing pollution from all major sources.
"Bay restoration is within reach. This Plan provides the road map to get us there. A healthy Bay will benefit Maryland's tourism, recreation, agriculture, and fisheries industries; it will improve the value of our homes, farms, and businesses; and it will create green jobs -- all while protecting our drinking water and improving waterways across the State.
"While Maryland has long been a leader in Bay restoration, it is now critical that all jurisdictions in the Bay watershed contribute equally to this effort. We greatly appreciate EPA's efforts in helping to clean up the Chesapeake Bay and are counting on continuing federal financial and technical support."
The Environmental Protection Agency is establishing a nutrient and sediment pollution budget for the Chesapeake Bay, consistent with Clean Water Act requirements known as the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). Concurrent with the development of the Bay TMDL, EPA charged the Bay watershed states and the District of Columbia with developing watershed implementation plans that will provide "reasonable assurance" that the jurisdictions can and will achieve the nutrient and sediment reductions necessary to implement the TMDL within their respective boundaries. Maryland's draft Plan was coordinated through the Maryland Departments of the Environment, Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Planning, using Governor O'Malley's BayStat process.