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In a move to observe a new pact among states and federal officials to protect and preserve the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland Governor Parris Glendening has stopped a plan to dump dredged mud from Baltimore shipping channels into the bay.
"We will not do anything that would have a negative impact on the bay," Glendening said, citing new evidence that shipping channel mud may contaminate bay waters. "We will find alternatives that will protect the future of the port without compromising the health of the bay.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and council leaders from Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. last week signed the ten-year Chesapeake Bay 2000 Agreement. Prior to the signing, Glendening had been in support of plans to discharge mud and silt from channel bottoms to an underwater trench north of the Chesapeake Bay Ridge know as Site 104.
Baltimore dredges four million cubic yards of channel mud every year to keep ports open for shipping. Alternately, land-based disposal could cost up to 25 times as much as open water dumping.
"Governor Glendening did the right thing by terminating consideration of Site 104 as a potential disposal site for dredge material and, more importantly, by saying that open-water dumping throughout Maryland's waters is no longer an alternative for dredge disposal," said Theresa Pierno, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
(Source: Environment News Service)