Why Are Twenty Far-Away States Trying To Block The Cleanup Of The Chesapeake Bay? After 30 years of attempts, a serious initiative to save the bay exists in the form of an EPA-led plan that limits the amount of agricultural nutrients entering the bay. This pollution causes the "dead zones" in the bay, which are so low in oxygen virtually no animal life can survive. A group of twenty-one Attorneys General, including the AG of Alaska and Wyoming, "argue that the cleanup plan raises serious concerns about states’ rights, and they worry that if the plan is left to stand, the EPA could enact similar pollution limits on watersheds such as the Mississippi." Their actions are in line with the wishes of The American Farm Bureau, a powerful agricultural interest group. [more inside]
Chesapeake, the largest natural gas producer in Pennsylvania, is losing money. The current low price of gas will leave the company around $4 Billion in the red this year. Part of their response is to use a recent state Supreme Court ruling to justify charging landowners for the drilling and transportation expenses involved in extraction, reducing or eliminating all royalties. What was once a windfall to Pennsylvania communities is now becoming a burden, with Chesapeake now retroactively billing landowners for previous expenses. StateImpact Pennsylvania has written and recorded a thorough report on the issue.
Fort Carroll is an abandoned Army fort on an artificial island in Baltimore's harbor. Robert E. Lee designed its hexagonal structure and supervised its construction, which the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers commenced in 1848. The fort was declared defunct in 1921, having never seen combat. Sitting in the middle of the Patapsco River, it can be seen clearly from the Key Bridge (named after a witness to an event at Baltimore's more famous fort), but rarely is it seen up close. Certainly, it helps if you have a boat. [more inside]
"A Maryland boat was sent to the bottom by the Virginian navy, and a long contest was the result..." Hostility between Maryland and Virginia began the moment Maryland was created in 1632. Virginia objected to the Catholic nature of the new colony, as well as the unusual border which gave Lord Baltimore's colony ownership of all the Potomac River. Disputed maritime borders lead to conflict over the prized oyster, and naval confrontation on the Chesapeake became common. Maryland eventually created an Oyster Navy, which was charged with bringing order to the Bay and enforcing harvesting laws against the oyster pirates. The "Oyster Wars" were frequently violent. [more inside]
Tangier Island, Virginia, is mere inches above the Bay around it. There isn't much dry land. Kids play on the airstrip. The people have a unique accent (which is becoming hard to find). With the land mostly marsh, folks bury their dead in their yards. It's a watery place, but charming. If Irene delivers even a glancing backhand blow, the entire island will be underwater. [more inside]
The Barnett Shale, the largest onshore natural gas formation in America, is transforming Fort Worth, TX and surrounding areas. [more inside]
"In a close-knit Chesapeake Bay community, the world’s fastest muskrat skinners face off in a truly cutthroat competition at the National Outdoor Show. One lucky young lady gets to be their queen." [Warning: Fiddle tunes!] Muskrat Lovely, a documentary about the conflation of the world muskrat-skinning championships with the Miss Outdoors beauty competition. The film will air soon on the PBS program Independent Lens. Catch some of the brackish flavor of the Chesapeake Bay's traditional regional culture, including some muskrat recipes and skinning tips.. And don't miss the link to Everything Muskrat.