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ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS:

Maryland and Dept. of Defense Join Forces to Clean Up Chesapeake Bay

SOURCES: Maryland Department of the Environment and the U.S. Dept. of Defense (Navy Region Mid-Atlantic)
Maryland will not seek to collect the Maryland Bay Restoration fees for the DoD-owned wastewater treatment facilities provided that the DoD successfully carries out its commitment.
ANNAPOLIS, MD--JULY 19, 2006: An historic environmental agreement has been reached between the State of Maryland and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) that will greatly improve efforts in restoring the Chesapeake Bay watershed at DoD installations across Maryland.

At a ceremony at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Secretary of the Environment Kendl P. Philbrick and Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources Ron Guns were joined by Alex A. Beehler, Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Environment, Safety, and Occupational Health) and Donald R. Schregardus, Deputy Asst. Secretary of the Navy (Environment), in signing a Memorandum of Understanding, that details specific actions the federal agency will take in helping to restore the Bay.

Under terms of the agreement, implementation of watershed improvement projects will continue, such as upgrading wastewater treatment plants to achieve enhanced nutrient removal (ENR), stabilizing eroding shorelines, and creating or enhancing stream buffers and wetlands.

"I applaud the Department of Defense for agreeing to go above and beyond the milestone we set with the Bay Restoration Act of 2004 by investing millions of dollars into the restoration of our greatest environmental resource-- the Chesapeake Bay," said Governor Bob Ehrlich in a prepared statement to the press.

It is estimated that the employees at Maryland DoD installations contribute over 9.4 million gallons per day of wastewater to the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Under the Memorandum of Understanding just signed, the DoD has agreed to implement and fund nutrient control measures and upgrades to meet the objectives of Maryland's Bay Restoration Act.

Over the last three fiscal years, the DoD has invested more than $15 million for environmental improvement projects in Maryland that contribute to improving the Chesapeake Bay's ecosystem. Examples of projects include $1 million for shoreline stabilization at Aberdeen Proving Ground, $980,000 for upgrading sewer lift stations at Andrews Air Force Base, and more than $1 million for creating a living shoreline at Naval Support Facility Solomons Island.

"DoD will continue to balance and integrate defense activities with the Chesapeake Bay's restoration and protection," said Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense Beehler in statement to the press. "We will employ new technologies and practices that improve our environmental programs and commitments to the Bay."

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) estimated that under the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Act the Department of Defense would pay approximately $900,000 per year to the Maryland Bay Restoration Fund. Under this agreement, Maryland will not seek to collect the Maryland Bay Restoration fees for the DoD-owned wastewater treatment facilities provided that the DoD successfully carries out its commitment.

"The Department of Defense has affirmed that it is an active member of the community who is committed to restoring the Chesapeake Bay," said Secretary Philbrick. "These commitments from the DoD exceed the equivalent of what would have been paid to the Bay Restoration Fund under the Bay Restoration Act."
See PDF summary of environmental impact of military bases that impact the Chesapeake Bay.

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This story was published on July 19, 2006.