Obama gives EPA Chesapeake Bay powers

May 13, 2009 at 9:56 AM
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WASHINGTON, May 13 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama has moved to give federal regulators more power to enforce Chesapeake Bay clean-up efforts, officials say.

Obama Tuesday signed an executive order giving the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency the lead in Chesapeake Bay anti-pollution efforts and granting the agency the power to penalize state governments that miss timetables to reduce pollutants flowing into the bay, The Washington Post reported.

"I can assure you that the EPA is ready to enforce these goals," EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson told the Post, adding that a "compliance and enforcement strategy" would soon be negotiated with state leaders.

A coalition of state governments that had been leading a 25-year fight to reduce pollution in the bay's 64,000-square-mile watershed last year admitted it had failed in meeting goals set in 2000, mainly because local politicians have been unable to tackle the sensitive choices needed to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus levels in run-offs, the newspaper said.

Analysts told the Post the EPA move could lead to new limits on developers, as well as on farmers and homeowners who use nutrients to fertilize their fields and lawns in the Chesapeake watershed.

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