News FocusENVIRONMENTAL RESTORATION

Obama Moves to Revitalize Chesapeake Bay Restoration

Science  29 May 2009:
Vol. 324, Issue 5931, pp. 1138-1139
DOI: 10.1126/science.324_1138

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Summary

For more than 25 years, the federal government and six states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed have repeatedly promised to clean it up—and repeatedly failed. They have poured billions of dollars into the effort, yet few measures of biological health have improved beyond the halfway mark to success. Now, advocates see some signs of hope. On 12 May, President Barack Obama directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take charge of a new federal effort and to exercise its full authority under the Clean Water Act. The order calls for better agricultural practices and the development of a strategy to deal with threats from climate change. Meanwhile, substantial sums of new money are flowing to restoration efforts, including $891 million from the Recovery and Reinvestment Act for upgrading wastewater treatment plants. EPA is nearing completion of a baywide pollution cap, as well as a clean air rule for the East Coast that will reduce the amount of nitrogen from power plants.