FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Dan Dewell
Federal and Maryland government officials gathered in Annapolis, Md., this morning to sign documents approving the state's coastal non-point pollution control plan. Polluted runoff is a significant problem throughout the nation and especially in coastal areas and watersheds that feed into sensitive estuaries and coastal environments.
"Controlling non-point source pollution is essential in order to protect and improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland's coastal bays," said Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Sarah Taylor-Rogers. "It is a tribute to Governor Glendening's environmental leadership that Maryland is the first state to have its plan approved," she said.
The national Coastal Zone Management program, of which the coastal non-point pollution control plans are a part, is administered by NOAA's National Ocean Service. The CZM program is a unique and voluntary partnership of federal and coastal state and territorial governments that encourages a balance between land and water uses in coastal zones and conservation of fragile coastal resources.
"As Marylanders know, a healthy environment is critical to a healthy economy. Fishing, tourism, recreation and the daily lives of people, fish and wildlife depend on clean coastal waters," said NOAA's Sally Yozell, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere. "We applaud Maryland's development of this coastal non-point pollution control program not only because it helps protect and improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic coastal areas, but because it literally leads the way in our larger national effort," she said.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees the nation's water quality programs, sees the adoption of the coastal non-point pollution control as a key link in improving the health of the nation's waterways.
"Runoff from the land is polluting our coastal waters, closing beaches, and restricting shellfish harvesting," said Diane Regas, Deputy Assistant Administrator at EPA. "Building on the achievements of the President's Clean Water Action Plan, states like Maryland are working to protect both the economy of communities that depend on important coastal resources and the health of millions of Americans who live and vacation on the water," she said.
The ceremony was held at the 'Chesapeake Bay Program office,' a facility shared by various natural resource agencies with responsibilities in the area.
More information on the CZM program and
the coastal state non-point pollution control plans is available
from NOAA on the World Wide Web at http://www.ocrm.nos.noaa.gov/czm/welcome.html
and from the EPA at:
Maryland DNR has information about the
state's water programs at: