This post was also written by Lou Naugle and David Wagner.

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) outlined what it terms a “rigorous accountability framework” for addressing pollution levels in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. This is the latest in a series of federal efforts to address levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment in the Chesapeake Bay watershed that are harmful to both animal and plant life. Most significant about these measures is that they include, for the first time in the 26-year history of the cleanup effort of the Chesapeake Bay, a number of punitive measures intended to force compliance with pollution controls by the six Chesapeake Bay states—Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia—and the District of Columbia.

This update outlines the punitive measures being imposed by the EPA, including the legal issues raised. It also describes the regulatory regime in place to address pollution levels. This regulatory approach was overhauled by the Obama administration in Executive Order 13508: Chesapeake Bay Protection and Restoration, dated May 12, 2009. This Executive Order, and the Draft Strategy proposed by the EPA that followed it, outlined a new strategy for cleaning up the Bay, including the punitive efforts announced this week. Finally, this update discusses what measures are expected in 2010.

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