WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and author of the True LEADership Act (S.2821), a comprehensive plan that recommits the federal government to a critical role in water infrastructure investment, lauded the announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of significant progress made on the nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment targets for the Bay watershed, especially the significant contributions of wastewater treatment plants. EPA released its evaluations of restoration efforts by the six Bay states and the District of Columbia in 2014 and 2015, as part of the blueprint to restore the Chesapeake Bay.
“This has been an encouraging week for the Chesapeake Bay, giving Marylanders a reason to be optimistic about its health. We have reached our target for nitrogen emissions from the wastewater sector much earlier than expected. In fact, we have seen nitrogen levels from the wastewater sector entering the Bay drop by 57 percent and phosphorus by 75 percent, and for the first time we are on track to meet the 2025 nutrient pollution goals outlined in the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).
“Investing in infrastructure pays direct dividends in the form of a healthier Chesapeake Bay and a stronger economy. I will continue to take every opportunity to remind my colleagues in Congress and the Administration that water infrastructure impacts the quality of life for every single person in America, including urging Senate leadership to take up the Water Resources Development Act, a bipartisan effort to finally move forward sweeping reforms and support to our nation’s water infrastructure, which includes much of my TRUE LEADership Act.
“We have made progress but the Clean Water Act still is under attack and crumbling water infrastructure threatens to continue to endanger public health, damage private property and poison our waterways across Maryland and nationwide. Working together, we must do more to protect the Bay. Maryland farmers are doing tremendous work lowering runoff from their farms, but we are very far behind on our agriculture goals in the broader watershed. I look forward to meeting with Agriculture Secretary Vilsack early next week to discuss the need for prioritizing resources to the places where we need them most.”