03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

What's Cleaner: Used Toilet Water or the Chesapeake Bay?

Yesterday, I went on a cruise of the West and Rhode rivers in Maryland to celebrate the release of Prof. Howard Ernst's new book, Fight for the Chesapeake Bay.

Below is a brief excerpt from a conversation with Howard I recorded on the boat. He reveals how he answered a question you wish didn't need asking -- What's cleaner: used toilet water or the Chesapeake Bay? Watch it:

In his book, Ernst explains why after 25 years and $6 billion dollars the Bay is worse than ever. Worse, in some cases, than your toilet (particularly after it rains).

One reason is that there has been a failure to create real enforceable standards for water quality across all the states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which includes not just Maryland and Virginia but also Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

That could change soon, thanks to a bill introduced last week by Sen. Ben Cardin and Congressman Elijah Cummings. The bill, called "The Chesapeake Bay Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act," would require all states to bring the pollution they contribute to the Bay under acceptable levels, called the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), by 2025. States that fail to do so would be subject to substantial penalties, including loss of federal funds by the EPA.

This is the kind of bold action necessary to turn the Bay around.

You can contact your members of Congress and urge them to support the bill now.

You can contact me at or connect with my campaign for State Delegate in Maryland at