U.S. Water News Online
WASHINGTON -- Leaders of Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania
and the District of Columbia have signed an agreement to stop some
Chesapeake Bay pollution at its source.
About 20 percent of the nutrient pollution in the bay comes from
animal manure. State governors say their states will work together on
a regional education plan to encourage farmers to adjust animals'
feed so they produce less phosphorous and other pollutants.
"Just by implementing the dairy cow feed management effort, it
would eliminate 2 million pounds of nitrogen per year from entering
the bay," said Kelly Shenk with the Environmental Protection Agency's
Chesapeake Bay Program Office.
Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell said in the past year, the states
worked together to keep human waste out of the bay with improvements
to 100 wastewater treatment facilities. He said better water quality
standards kept 15 million pounds of sewage from entering the bay.
"For 2006 we're turning our focus to agriculture," Rendell said.
The governors plan to lobby Congress together for changes to the
federal farm legislation that would require farmers to adopt feed and
waste management practices that will minimize the chances of
pollutants ending up in the water.
The executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, Ann
Swanson, said the reason they will direct efforts to agriculture this
year is that a recent study found five of the six most cost-effective
pollution solutions involve agriculture.
Swanson said controlling agriculture pollutants will require the
federal government to kick in four times the funding it has been
"In Virginia, we have the strictest water quality standards of any
state in the country. By stepping up the state investment, we're
stepping up to the plate. We need the same response from the federal
government," Virginia Gov. Mark Warner told the Associated Press.
Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich said the region has "stopped the
bleeding." But he said the goal is to get the Chesapeake off the
EPA's list of endangered waterways by 2010.
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