To protect the public and the environment from toxic releases, America should prevent pollution by requiring industries to reduce their use of toxic chemicals and restore and strengthen Clean Water Act protections for all of America’s waterways.
More than 25 years since the Chesapeake Bay Agreement of December 1983 created a region-wide partnership "to improve and protect the water quality and living resources of the Chesapeake Bay," the bay's water quality has not improved, and communities that rely on a clean, sustainable bay are paying a high price for the lack of progress.
Pollution is a major cause of the bay's problems. Fertilizer-laden runoff from farms and lawns, as well as discharge from sewage treatment plants, flows into the bay. This fuels algae blooms, using up oxygen in the water and creating unnaturally large dead zones—areas where dissolved oxygen levels in the water are so low aquatic creatures flee or die. Sediment from farms, roads, and construction sites further pollutes the bay.
Transportation is responsible for more than two-thirds of our nation's oil consumption and nearly a third of our carbon dioxide emissions. To make us more energy independent and reduce pollution, we need to build a transportation system that uses less oil, takes advantage of alternative fuels, and shifts as much of our travel as possible from transportation modes that consume a lot of energy to those that consume less.
America is at an energy crossroad. As a nation, we are dependent on fossil fuels at a time of growing demand and dwindling supply. Meanwhile, fossil fuel use continues to impose massive environmental and economic costs. Now our country must choose between paying to continue the status quo and investing in a new energy future.