Regardless of your opinion of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's mandates in the Chesapeake Bay Initiative, this week's meeting of industry leaders, government representatives and elected officials in an all-day summit was a good thing.
There is much debate about the EPA's plan and its impact on the region, but no one is against reducing pollution or cleaning up our waterways.
Groups at the Region 9 Chesapeake Bay Summit at the Byrd Health Sciences Center this week represented wastewater treatment plants, developed and industrial lands, agriculture/forestry and elected officials from Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties and the nine municipalities in those three counties. The greater, eight-county Eastern Panhandle is in the Potomac River watershed, one of the bay's major tributaries.
The EPA wants to dramatically reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus, pollution and sediment pollution getting into the Chesapeake Bay through its tributaries. The plan has many challengers and critics, but be certain of this fact: The Chesapeake Bay Initiative, while possibly facing some changes, will impact every aspect of life in our region.
This week's meeting brought the major players to the table for planning and discussion. It was another step in the right direction. Our region is better served by hoping for the best but planning for the worst.