To the Queen Anne's County Commissioners:
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation was founded in 1967 with a mission to "Save the Bay™, and keep it saved, as defined by reaching a 70 on CBF's Health Index (1 - 100)." 47 years later after untold millions of dollars in funding and contributions, they've managed a D+ grade (32 out of 70) according to their own biannual State of the Bay report (2013)? Einstein correctly noted, "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
Queen Anne's County has approximately 50,000 residents. Many were and are attracted here for a variety of reasons beyond our low cost of living, rural look and feel, open spaces, family friendly communities & great schools. Woven in to most every reason to "Live, Work & Play" here is the Bay itself, its functionality and beauty add significantly to our unique quality of life.
Queen Anne's County has a long history of waterman who relied on the Bay's fisheries to make their living, raise their families and of course contribute tax revenues. According to the Counties website, Hospitality & Tourism accounts for nearly one fifth of our employment figures, and between the Hotel tax and the Admission & Amusement tax generate $630,655.00 in direct County revenues (FY2013 act, county budget page 6). Most here appear to recognize that without a healthy, functioning Chesapeake Bay, there's little reason for anyone to stop in and visit, to "Live, Work & Play" in QAC.
The Chesapeake Bay Foundations webpage correctly notes the Bay's problems stem not only from commercial and recreational activities directly in the Bay, but also from the 48 rivers and some 150 streams that feed the estuary, some 64,000 square miles of watershed area, stretching all the way north to the headwaters of the Susquehanna River in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Located on one major river in Maryland feeding the upper Bay (the Susquehanna), lies the Conowingo Dam. Completed in 1928, the dam produces 252 megawatts of power, second only to Niagara Falls in hydroelectric power generation. Exelon Corporation holds the FERC license to operate, & profit from this facility, so it's fair to expect they maintain and improve it. The license issued by FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) is for a period from 30 to 50 years, renewal of the license is slated for September 1 2014, yet the previous license had no requirements of the company in terms of dredging what is now 86 years of piled up sediment with 'who knows what in it' behind the dam? This sediment is now arguably spilling over every day with most any rain event, and in significant quantities easily identifiable by satellite for every major event like severe storms, tropical Storms and Hurricanes. And though Exelon filed its application to re-license with FERC back in August of 2012, not a word was heard from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation as to this huge upper Bay killing issue, until the Clean Chesapeake Coalition came together and said 'enough'! Only then, did the Chesapeake Bay Foundation file to intervene in the process, August 20, 2013, a year after the re-license application had been submitted. Sensible people correctly ask, why so late to the table?
The Clean Chesapeake Coalition is focusing like a laser on this very specific issue of point source pollution, separate of all other mitigation plans. It has the buy-in of Eight area counties, some who have already twice paid the $25,000.00 fee to join and focus efforts on 'this elephant in the room' sized solvable problem first!
The mission of the Clean Chesapeake Coalition is "to advocate, raise awareness and take action in order to improve the poor water quality of the Chesapeake Bay in the most effective and fiscally responsible manner possible. The coalition seeks to re-establish Maryland's waters and its oyster, crab, fishing, and seafood packaging industries that were once so vital to our local economies. We want the Bay to be restored to its once great role as a beacon of recreation for residents and our tourism industries." Further, the coalition seeks "to challenge the wasteful spending on the many government mandates that rely on ineffective programs and/or facilities". Some programs I might add that after 47 years have only managed to bring us up to a 'D+' grade?
Members of the coalition include Kent, Frederick, Allegany, Caroline, Carroll, Dorchester, Cecil & Wicomico Counties. Some of these counties don't sit directly on or near the Chesapeake Bay like Queen Anne's County. And no doubt some of these Counties would love to have our location, our revenues and our budget surplus, thanks to your hard work and efforts.
Business Queen Anne's remains highly supportive of the Clean Chesapeake Coalition, we ask you consider joining in this effort to demonstrably 'Save the Bay', so there always remains a reason to "Live, Work and Play" in Queen Anne's County, thank you.
(Also, here is an Op Ed piece from the New York Times that might interest our members!)