The Chesapeake Bay is a national treasure. It is the largest estuary in the United States and the largest Atlantic watershed. Stretching over 200 miles long, the Bay watershed provides ecological services to New York down to Virginia. If you live near the Chesapeake Bay, you know that its health is poor. Massive fish kills, the decline in the Blue Crab, and decimation of the native oyster populations all indicate something is dreadfully wrong.
We have a formidable task before us and Governor Kaine of Virginia is leading the way.
Last week I heard Governor Kaine speak at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's "Blue Planet Forum: Exploring the Bay and Beyond." The event was held at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia with 300 attendees. It only took a few minutes to learn that Governor Kaine is making the environment his number one priority during his last year in office.
What has Governor Kaine done?
Kaine has dedicated more than a billion dollars for Bay cleanup efforts. Point source pollution is being reduced in sewage treatment plants. Agricultural runoff is being reduced with Best Management Practices. Stormwater regulations are being rewritten to guide future development to minimize pavement and concrete. Two year milestones have been put in place to keep regulators accountable. Governor Kaine has also made the Bay a key component of the "Renew Virginia" initiative, the goal of which is to make Virginia a leader in energy conservation.
Governor Kaine has enough influence in the Obama administration to make something happen. Kaine serves as the chairman of the Chesapeake Bay Executive Council and chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Recently, Kaine met with EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson, to urge her to move the Chesapeake Bay Program to EPA headquarters to ensure accountability.
Virginia Governor Tim Kaine is realistically aggressive. Bay cleanup efforts are on the right track. Governor Kaine's term ends this year, but expect to see him in politics for the long run. This may just be a great thing for the Chesapeake Bay.