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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Raquel Guillory, 410-576-6357
rguillory@oag.state.md.us

Attorney General Gansler Issues 2008 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Environmental Audit Report
Annual Report Includes Chester, Pocomoke, and Monocacy Rivers and Great Seneca Creek

BALTIMORE, MD (April 22, 2009) - In an effort to identify problems at their source and develop solutions that will benefit the Chesapeake Bay and its habitat, Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler embarked on a river-by-river environmental audit in April 2008. The first annual report released today contains the results of the Attorney General’s audits of the Chester, Pocomoke and Monocacy Rivers and Great Seneca Creek. During each visit, Attorney General Gansler met with elected officials, environmental leaders and community members from each watershed to hear firsthand about environmental challenges specific to that location as well as about pollution issues common throughout the greater Chesapeake Bay watershed.

“Communities and local activists know where problems exist, and the residents can offer practical and innovative solutions to improve the health of the Bay and its tributaries,” said Attorney General Gansler. “Although much remains to be done to save the Bay, these environmental visits establish meaningful relationships with watershed communities and provide critical information that enables my office to identify and target individuals and corporations that pollute, as well as to determine where legislation can make a difference.”

The 2008 audits revealed recurring concerns common among the watersheds including:

  • pollution related to agriculture and growth;
  • lack of agency transparency and accessibility of information;
  • insufficient agency resources to investigate and prosecute polluters; and,
  • inadequate penalties and fines to deter polluters.

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; worked with State agencies to achieve greater transparency and access to information; and successfully supported significant legislation that ultimately will benefit the Chesapeake Bay, including bills that enhance the ability of citizens and associational groups to challenge environmental permits, wetlands licenses and Critical Area variances, prohibit the proliferation of individual wastewater treatment plants, lower the phosphorous content in lawn fertilizer and reduce nitrogen pollution from septic systems in the Critical Area.

Each year, Attorney General Gansler anticipates visiting four or more of the Bay’s 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. These ongoing relationships will provide eyes and ears to help identify environmental problems and solutions, and what has been learned will inform future audits and enhance their effectiveness.

A copy the Attorney General’s 2008 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Environmental Audit can be found at http://www.oag.state.md.us/reports/2008EnvironmentalAudit.pdf.

   

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