Chesapeake Bay and Nonpoint Source Programs / TMDLs

The Environmental & Energy Law Program is tracking the environmental regulatory rollbacks of the Trump administration. Click here for the list of rules we are following

Why it Matters

The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the US. Pollution from agriculture and urban runoff has impaired Chesapeake water quality, damaging its fisheries and recreational and natural value.

Current Status

The Trump administration’s fiscal year 2019 budget request proposes to dramatically reduce the Chesapeake Bay cleanup and pollution control funds in order to shift the burden of these activities to states and municipalities. The remaining funds would be about 10% of what they were the previous year.

On March 23, 2018 Congress approved and the president signed a 2018 spending plan that included maintaining full funding for these programs, which Trump had sought to eliminate.

On June 20, 2018, EPA sent letters to Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia (the seven states covered by the TMDL) outlining its expectations for each jurisdiction’s Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation has expressed its support for the expectations outlined by EPA. The expectations document highlights Pennsylvania’s difficulty in meeting its milestones to date and incorporates the impacts of climate change, which is expected to cause an increase in the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus entering the bay, into the planning process.

On July 27, 2018 EPA released its Midpoint Assessment of the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load. While acknowledging “considerable progress in reducing pollution to local waters and the Bay” and that the jurisdictions have exceeded their goals for phosphorus and sediment, the report noted that nitrogen goals have not been met.

On August 7, 2018, the Chesapeake Executive Council held its annual meeting and signed a directive in support of increasing technical assistance to farmers for conservation efforts.

Click here learn more about the history of this rule and actions that have been taken on it by the Trump Administration.

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