How well the Chesapeake Bay and its associated watershed – along with other similar coastal areas – can survive pollution is in the hands of the 3rd U.S. Court of Appeals.
At issue is a lawsuit by farmers and 20 states challenging a plan by the Obama administration to tighten pollution efforts tied to the Chesapeake’s deteriorating waters. Like portions of the Mississippi delta in Louisiana, the Chesapeake Bay has notable ‘dead zones’ where nothing lives, thanks to pollutants caused by farm runoff and other sources.
But there are some enlightened constituencies. Maryland and Virginia are among the localized states supporting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plan to protect and restore this important fishery/tourist area. According to a report by the Associated Press, “This lawsuit attacks our efforts to restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay and strengthen its crucial economic value,” Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler said. “Maryland must preserve its partnership with an effective EPA to safeguard our environment and sustain the thousands of jobs supported by the bay.”
On the other side, reports the A.P., are mainly red states who oppose the Chesapeake plan including “Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming. Most are led by Republican governors.”
How the court decides could have far reaching implications. Legal experts say if the lawsuit against the EPA succeeds, it will be viewed as a precedent other courts might follow.
You know where I fall on this score. The largely GOP states view the environment as a commodity to be manipulated and, if need be, subservient to man. I don’t buy that argument. Their shortsightedness also creates another sort of dead zone – the space between their ears.