The decision supported the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to facilitate multi-state coordinated efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay and other shared waterways. This decision is important because effective clean up efforts of large bodies of water like the Bay must be managed by all of the political jurisdictions it touches, well coordinated and the responsibility of everyone within the watershed.
Essentially, if we live, work or play within the watershed, we should have a role in ensuring it remains clean.
The case in question focused on a plan to decrease nutrients and sediments ending up in the waters of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Nutrients and sediments alone are not bad things, we simply allow too much of them to enter our local waters.
This ultimately impacts the animals and plants we depend on for heathy ecosystems and healthy economies. These types of pollutants don’t come from the end of a pipe at a factory, there are other diverse sources including our yards, farms, townships and cities. Sometimes we purposely apply them, like fertilizer, and sometimes they are a function of how we’ve built our communities—allowing them to be carried away by rainwater through city streets, into storm drains and then into nearby waterways.
This week’s Supreme Court decision affirmed that special interest groups will not be allowed to block efforts by states and the federal government to clean up shared waters. It supports the distribution of responsibility fairly among stakeholders and will allow us all to take responsibility for doing our part to ensure healthier communities!
This blog was written by our Director of Conservation, Laura Bankey.