Chesapeake leaders pledge to step up progress toward 2025 goals but admit they won’t meet them

Federal and state leaders currently steering a nearly 40-year effort to clean up the Chesapeake Bay acknowledged this week that they will likely fall short of their longstanding 2025 cleanup deadline, now just a little more than three years away.

During an Oct. 11 meeting of the Chesapeake Executive Council, a senior policy-making body for the cleanup effort, some members concentrated on the progress that has been made since the first Chesapeake Bay agreement was penned by the partners in 1983. Others were frank about where things stand.

Attending his first Executive Council meeting since being elected last year, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin stated plainly that his state would not meet its 2025 pollution reduction targets, despite a recent flurry of additional state funding.

“We have a clear commitment to meet those goals. Unfortunately, we won’t meet those by 2025,” he said. “We’ve made considerable progress on many of them. But unfortunately, I inherited a plan that didn’t have Virginia on a path to meet them all on time.”

The council includes the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; the governors of Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia and New York; the mayor of the District of Columbia; and the chair of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, which represents state legislatures. Only members from the EPA, Maryland, Virginia and the commission attended the meeting.

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