ST. MARY'S CITY, Md. (Feb. 12, 2009) - William Baker, President of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), will speak on Thursday, Feb. 12 at 6 p.m. in the Cole Cinema of the Campus Center at St. Mary's College of Maryland (SMCM). In light of the organization's recent lawsuit against the EPA requiring enforcement of Clean Water Act laws and reduction of pollution in the bay, the lecture, entitled, "Will Science-Based Public Policy and the Rule of Law Prevail? Saving the Chesapeake Bay and Its Tributary Rivers," hopes to answer questions about the future state of the world's largest inland estuary. This talk is co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Democracy, the Environmental Studies Program, the Sustainability Committee, the Student Environmental Action Coalition and the Nitze Scholars Program, and is free and open to the public.
From the landmark EPA study of the Chesapeake Bay in the 1970s to Virginia's comparable legislative commitment in 2005, CBF has been working toward saving the bay. In January, CBF filed a lawsuit requiring the EPA to implement procedures that would result in the bay's removal from the federal "impaired waters" list. CBF is asking the federal court to order the EPA to reduce pollution from all sources, including air, wastewater treatment plants, and urban, suburban, and agricultural runoff. To jumpstart resolution, CBF has provided a list of 33 actions that EPA and the federal government can take to achieve the goal. Among these actions are the adoption of strict limits for municipal storm water discharges and requiring the EPA to commit to achieve 80 percent of the pollution reduction goal by 2012, with full implementation by 2015.
"Over the last eight years the EPA, which has the responsibility to lead the effort to enforce the Clean Water Act, has abdicated leadership and weakened regulations that would have reduced pollution," said Baker. "The rule of science and the rule of law have been subjugated to political dogma and a policy of deregulation that has wreaked havoc from financial markets to environmental protection. Science has provided a roadmap for Bay restoration and EPA has the tools to get the job done. The bay is still polluted due to the lack of political will."
After graduation from Trinity College in 1976, Baker came to work for the CBF as an intern at the request of one of CBF's trustees. Baker continues to dedicate his career to saving the bay as president and chief executive officer of CBF since 1982, leading the largest not-for-profit conservation organization dedicated solely to preserving, protecting, and restoring the Chesapeake Bay. Under his leadership, CBF received the nation's highest environmental honor, the 1992 Presidential Medal for Environmental Excellence, in recognition of its environmental education program.