Odyssey: Missing in Action: The Political Courage to Save the Chesapeake Bay

Saturday morning, Sunday afternoon seminar

Mark Croatti, Program Moderator

Following the 1972 federal Clean Water Act, the EPA, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia signed the 1983 Chesapeake Bay Agreement, reinforced in 1987 and 1992, to clean up the Bay by 2000. After Delaware and West Virginia joined the effort, a new goal of 2010 was announced, and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley created BayStat to monitor the initiative. When that deadline passed, New York and the other states adopted the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint in 2014 to progressively reduce pollutant levels until 2025. Various updates have followed, including a University of Maryland study in 2020 that dropped the Bay's health rating from a C to a C-minus. What comes next? Join us for a comprehensive discussion on the future of the Chesapeake Bay!

Saturday, April 24, 9 to 10:30 a.m., Shades of Green: An Exploration of Competing Environmental Values

This session will focus on the competing environmental worldviews that drive environmental policy conflicts. Howard Ernst argues that the bulk of environmental policy disagreements have little to do with disputes over science or policy but everything to do with competing worldviews as he challenges participants to more fully understand their own environmental beliefs as well as those with whom they disagree. Howard R. Ernst, University of Virginia, is professor of political science at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He teaches classes in environmental policy and researches a wide array of environmental policy issues. He also represents the University of Virginia's Center for Politics as a senior scholar in the area of environmental policy and directs the Environmental Leadership Program at Gettysburg College's Eisenhower Institute.

10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Restoring the Chesapeake: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

This session will explore the results of 37 years of formal efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay by outlining efforts to control nutrients and sediment causing the Bay's decline. A variety of pollution-related issues will be covered to explain why 62% of the Bay still does not meet basic Clean Water Act requirements, including how the failure to control agricultural pollution (the greatest source of Bay pollution) and developed land storm water runoff both impede restoration. While there has been major success with pollution reductions from wastewater discharges of sewage and from industrial discharges, there remain political barriers to enacting and implementing restoration policies. Gerald Winegrad, an alumnus of the University of Maryland School of Law, is a former Maryland state senator and attorney with 50 years of environmental advocacy experience. Sen. Winegrad chaired the Environment and Chesapeake Bay Subcommittee and was called the "environmental conscience" of the Senate by The Washington Post, where Tom Horton wrote that "he is the person who more than any other set Maryland's environmental agenda over the past 16 years." Winegrad also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, where he authored and taught graduate courses on Chesapeake Bay restoration and wildlife management. He writes a weekly environmental column for The Capital and The Sun newspapers.

Sunday, April 25, 1:30 to 3 p.m., The Bay Cleanup: What Has Worked; What Has Failed; and Why?

Over more than three decades, the Chesapeake Bay region states and the EPA have made four different agreements to clean up the nation's largest estuary. The most recent Bay cleanup plan, called the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (or TMDL), launched in 2010 with a deadline of 2025, appears to be falling short, like its predecessors. Tom Pelton, a national award-winning environmental journalist, was a staff reporter for the The Sun and Chicago Tribune and has also written for the Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Harvard Magazine, and other publications. Pelton is the author of the book, The Chesapeake in Focus: Transforming the Natural World, published by Johns Hopkins University Press. He hosts the weekly public radio program and podcast, "The Environment in Focus," and is the director of Communications at the Environmental Integrity Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to holding polluters and governments accountable to protect public health.

3:15 to 4:45 p.m., De-colonializing the Save the Bay Movement

Treating the health of the estuary as a human and environmental health objective (instead of a purely nature-saving cause) might change the fate of the Chesapeake Bay. The messaging and sense of domain within the current Save the Bay movement have overlooked and misread the huge mass of interest and passion for the environment that exists within black and brown communities. We will explore how the lack of cultural competence within the movement as an outgrowth of an all-white cause has moderated its success; how positioning it as a nature-saving cause that serves "privilege"—rather than as a public health and community empowerment effort that produces "justice" or "equity"—has resulted in a sense of alienation and disenfranchisement among those demographics and populations with the most to lose or gain from an actual restoration; and how adopting the culture of the civil rights movement could bring about a renaissance in the quest for a sustainable Chesapeake Bay cleanup. Fred Tutman holds the title of Patuxent Riverkeeper. He has taught courses in Environmental Law and Policy at St. Mary's College of Maryland and served as a graduate studies adviser at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont. He is the recipient of numerous regional and state awards for his various environmental works, and is the longest serving Waterkeeper in the Chesapeake Bay region, and the only African-American Waterkeeper in the nation.

910.864.01 via Zoom
Date: Saturday, April 24, 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.; Sunday, April, 25, 1:30 to 4:45 p.m.
Cost: $105 (two sessions)

JHU full-time faculty/staff are eligible for 80% tuition remission; spouse for 50%. You will be unable to register online and receive the discount. For registration details, email bhebron@jhu.edu.