The Continuing Assisted Suicide of the Chesapeake Bay

Exploited for decades as food source, sewer, dump and playground, the largest estuary in the world is near death.

Since the 1970s, Maryland, Virginia and the Federal government have from time to time announced new initiatives to “clean up” the Chesapeake Bay. The term is quaint, and brings to mind activities like hauling old tires and discarded refrigerators out of the water. Would that it were that easy.

The culprit in the Chesapeake, as in all the estuaries of the world, is massive over-stimulation of plant (think algae) life by nutrients that wash off farm fields and lawns because of over-application and that gush from sewage treatment plants because of inadequate treatment. According to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, “Since colonial times, the Bay has lost half of its forested shorelines, over half of its wetlands, nearly 80 percent of its underwater grasses, and more than 98 percent of its oysters.”

As the life of the Bay has steadily disappeared under the effluent of profitable industries — the chicken industry, the development industry, the cattle industry among others — the governments have responded with “initiatives” that have consisted almost entirely of asking people please to stop the polluting. Surprise. It didn’t work.

Now, in an administration that does not have industry handcuffs on all its regulators, the Environmental Protection Agency has signaled its wants to get serious about the Bay, by actually requiring improvements and prohibiting deadly habits. As the Washington Post reports today,  even the holy ground of today’s chemically saturated suburban lawn may have to change.

You can hear the well oiled machinery of the Moneycrats ramping up to meet this new challenge. Houses will be too expensive for the common people, say the housing developers. Food will be too expensive for ordinary people, say the food industrialists. Their wholly-owned politicians will rail against socialism and insist that any attempt to slow down the death of the Chesapeake Bay would destroy jobs.

Meanwhile the destruction of jobs and lives caused by the pollution of the Bay continues.

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