Maryland Plans to Sue the EPA if it Doesn’t Vow to Enforce Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Plan

Karen Gutierrez Garcia

A Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen and Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles vowed to sue the Environmental Protection Agency if it doesn’t clarify whether or not they will continue their enforcement of the Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan that was enacted in 2010.

Senator Chris Van Hollen suggested the plan to sue if the EPA refused to intervene in nonparticipating states to clean up the Chesapeake Bay by 2025.

Six states and the District of Columbia have agreed to limit the amount of pollution flowing through the bay and the EPA is to step in if those jurisdictions fail to meet the agreed terms on the 2010 plan.

Environmental groups and politicians that focus and worry about the bay are concerned as to whether or not the EPA considers the bay cleanup agreement an enforceable document, which will create a buildup of pollution into the bay’s ecosystem.

The Chesapeake Bay is home to more than 3,000 species of migratory and resident wildlife species. Most of the pollutants of the Chesapeake Bay are nitrogen and phosphorus from sewage and fertilizers used in suburban and rural applications, such as maintaining lawns or crops, end up in the bay due to rainfall-runoff. 

These harmful chemicals are detrimental to the growth and development of oyster reefs, fish, crabs, and other mammals. The chemicals contribute to the growth and development of harmful algae and bacteria that cause harm to the Chesapeake Bay’s ecosystem. 

“We’re still very concerned about that,” Grumbles said, “It’s not just aspirational; it’s enforceable. And it’s not informational; it’s integral to our success.”

“This is a moment we need absolute clarity,” Van Hollen stated.