Friday 24 November 2017

Press Statements (59)

Waterkeepers Chesapeake, a coalition of 19 independent local organizations, expressed serious concerns today that the new Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement fails to put enough specific measures in place to assure meaningful improvement to the Bay and our rivers. Representatives from Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. will sign the new agreement today. The first Chesapeake Bay Agreement established the numeric goals to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in the Bay ecosystem and was signed in 1987 by the governors of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania and the mayor of Washington, D.C. Several updated agreements have been adopted since then. According to the Chesapeake Bay Program, today’s new Agreement establishes “a set of goals and outcomes for the restoration of the Bay, its tributaries and the lands that surround them.” In response to the draft Agreement, Waterkeepers Chesapeake says the Agreement now includes some laudable new goals, such as reducing toxic contaminants, and addressing environmental justice and climate change. However, the Agreement allows the jurisdictions to opt out of these goals, and, in fact, allows them to opt out of any of the goals.  The Agreement also provides no accountability for jurisdictions that fail to meet the goals they do choose to adopt. Since the draft Agreement was introduced, citizens submitted thousands of public comments, many specifically asking for the jurisdictions to be held accountable for implementing these goals.  “Each and every jurisdiction in the Bay has to do their share,” said Betsy Nicholas, executive director of…
Betsy Nicholas, Executive Director of Waterkeepers Chesapeake issued this statement about the CSX train derailment and crude oil spill and explosion on the James River in Lynchburg, Virginia on April 30, 2014: “Our thoughts are with the residents of Lynchburg and first responders as they deal with explosion and toxic oil spill. Thankfully no one was injured. Upper James Riverkeeper Pat Calvert has an office about 150 yards from the crash site. He and Lower James Riverkeeper Jamie Brunkow responded immediately and are now assisted by staff from Waterkeeper Alliance, Shenandoah Riverkeeper and other local Waterkeepers. They will monitor the impact on the river and assist in the clean up and future mitigation of this toxic oil spill.osion and toxic oil spill. Thankfully no one was injured. This train derailment in downtown Lynchburg is a stark reminder that we need a national discussion about the safety and regulatory oversight of the transportation of hazardous materials through populated areas and sensitive environmental areas, especially along rivers that supply drinking water to cities such as Richmond. We agree with Pat Calvert, Upper James Riverkeeper, who wants to see a larger discussion on what is appropriate for us to be transporting by rail, especially along our rivers. The amount of crude oil being transported by rail has grown exponentially due to the fracking boom. The federal rule making and oversight has not kept up.  In addition to the Lynchburg derailment, yesterday our region experienced a coal train derailment near Bowie, Maryland, and a…
Monday, June 16 marked the end of a contested 30-day public comment period on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the controversial $3.8 billion plan, proposed by Virginia-based Dominion Resources, to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Cove Point Maryland. Dominion’s plan is to convert an existing import facility into an export facility and to pipe fracked gas from the Marcellus shale to southern Maryland, liquefy it, and export it to be burned in Japan and India. FERC’s environmental assessment has been widely criticized for failing to address the project’s role in speeding fracking across Appalachia, worsening the climate crisis, and threatening the safety of nearby residents in Calvert County with potential explosion and fire catastrophes. The facility, located next to a residential community, is only 3 miles from a nuclear power plant and 50 miles from Washington DC. More than 150,000 comments flooded FERC, arguing that it is clear that without analyzing the reasonably foreseeable cumulative impacts this project would have on the environment throughout the 64,000 square mile Chesapeake Bay watershed, FERC’s determination of a “Finding of No Significant Impact” is arbitrary and capricious and violates the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The U.S. Environment Protection Agency’s (EPA) says that FERC should weigh gas production stimulus effect of the Cove Point export facility. In its comments filed on Monday, the EPA states “Both FERC and DOE [U.S. Department of Energy] have recognized that an increase in natural gas exports will result in increased production.”…