Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced the release of his 2010 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Environmental Audit. Attorney General Gansler’s third annual report included audits of the Upper Patapsco, Patuxent, Gunpowder and Port Tobacco Rivers. Beginning in April 2008, the Office of the Attorney General embarked on a river-by-river environmental audit to identify problems at their source and formulate solutions that will benefit the Bay. Each year, the Attorney General visits four of the Bays tributaries to learn about the specific problems in each individual watershed, as well as pollution issues common throughout the greater Chesapeake Bay watershed.
In each watershed, the Attorney General spent a full day meeting with local elected officials, environmental leaders, students and citizens. He traveled by boat and walked the shores of the waterways to learn about the watersheds, their problems and ongoing restoration efforts, and also to identify unique sources of pollution. River-by-river, the Attorney Generals focus is on gathering information from those most intimately familiar with the rivers in order to develop solutions and enhance enforcement of environmental laws. The Attorney General’s ultimate goal is to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
During the 2010 environmental audits, the Attorney General learned about environmental matters specific to these locations ranging from oyster poaching and crab harvesting to illegal dumping and littering to aging sewer pipes and stormwater outfalls. The audits also revealed recurring concerns common among the watersheds including:
• pollution related to agriculture and residential growth;
• inadequate oversight of growth and development;
• Critical Area violations.
As this information was gathered from each watershed, the Attorney General referred a number of matters to appropriate regulatory agencies; initiated and concluded enforcement actions and lawsuits; and, supported significant legislation that ultimately will benefit the Chesapeake Bay, including a bill that reduces nitrogen and phosphorus content in lawn fertilizer and a bill that reduces phosphorus content in commercial dishwashing detergent. The Attorney General also supported a variety of other bills concerning issues raised during his audits, including bills that will allow the Department of Natural Resources to revoke the licenses of individuals for oyster, striped bass, and crab poaching violations.
Each year, Attorney General Gansler will continue to visit four of the Bays tributaries to conduct similar audits and open lines of communication that will continue long after the day spent at each river as new issues and problems arise. A copy the Attorney General’s 2010 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Environmental Audit can be found by clicking the link.