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Posted at 2:30 PM ET, 05/13/2010

Clean the Bay, yes, but use good science

By Paige Winfield Cunningham

The EPA might be 38 years late, but now it's going to clean up the Chesapeake Bay for real this time.

Uh huh.

Those on both the right and the left seem skeptical that the EPA is actually turning over a new leaf after so many broken promises. But here's what I'm wondering: How can Virginia start reducing pollution into the bay when the EPA keeps faltering on its science? I offer two examples.

1. Virginia developers and environmental groups battled most of last year over stricter regulations on stormwater run-off, which were based on EPA estimates of how much phosphorus pollution is flowing into the bay.

Two months after the state's Soil and Water Conservation Board initially approved the new regulations, the EPA unveiled some new computer simulations showing much less phosphorus is entering the bay than originally thought.

In response, the board reversed its ruling. Now we're waiting until the EPA confirms its new data later this year.

2. This spring, a Prince William County company found that hard surfaces like streets and parking lots (which enable more pollution to run into the bay) were being constructed at a much slower rate than the EPA has said.

I'm all for a clean Chesapeake Bay, especially now that visiting the beach is quickly turning into a favorite Sunday afternoon tradition. I'm also for fewer restrictions on developers and farmers. I'm not sure how those fit together, but I'm pretty sure they won't even come close if the EPA doesn't use good science when crafting regulations.

Paige Winfield Cunningham is an investigative reporter and managing editor at Old Dominion Watchdog. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By Paige Winfield Cunningham  | May 13, 2010; 2:30 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., HotTopic, Local blog network, environment  
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I fear the science will improve faster than attitudes will change. All for cleaning up the Bay, but you also want fewer restrictions on developers and farmers. Good luck with that. Make a choice ... which one will it be?

Posted by: rparrish1 | May 14, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

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