‘Broken Promises On The Bay’ Raises Questions

By Rabiah Alicia Burks

Broken Promises on the Bay is a great read for those interested in learning about the history of the Chesapeake Bay cleanup.  Though published in 2008, it still has relevance today.

The article delves into the political side of the cleanup by raising a few pressing concerns:

1)   It questioned the government’s commitment to clean up the bay because some analysts found that some reports presented a rosier picture of the bay’s progress than the actual evidence supported.

2)   It discussed the government’s failure to create legislation that would address major Chesapeake Bay pollutants.

3)    It noted that the governors of Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania met twice and vowed to clean up the Bay — once in 1987, again in 2000. (Last year was the third time the governors came together to vow to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.)

The 2007 GAO’s report on the bay  also discussed the issue of the Chesapeake Bay Program’s credibility in reporting on the true state of the Bay’s progress.

The reports also discussed the fact that the Chesapeake Y2K outlined over 101 commitments that the Chesapeake Bay Program was expected to address, some of which the authors knew the program was  not going to able to address.

Since then officials have pared down the list of commitments. Yet  they still have not achieved the majority of their goals.

There are eleven federal agencies, three states and the District of Columbia providing funding for the Chesapeake Bay cleanup. This combination  raises a few questions:

1)   How many people rely on the Chesapeake Bay cleanup for employment?

2)   How much money is distributed in grants, and initiatives to help clean up the Chesapeake Bay?

3)   If the Chesapeake Bay were to ever become healthy and vibrant, how many people would be out of a job?

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Bay on the Brink is a multimedia reporting project examining the fate of the Chesapeake Bay. It is produced by fellows at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism as part of News21, a consortium of journalism schools. This is the fellows' blog. The full project site is here:
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