by Alicia Pimental
August 11, 2009
The Bay Program has launched a website for the Chesapeake Bay Executive Order on Chesapeake Bay Protection and Restoration, http://executiveorder.chesapeakebay.net, which will be used to distribute news, events, documents and other information from the various federal agencies working on a new strategy to advance Bay cleanup.
On May 12, 2009, President Obama signed an Executive Order that recognizes the Chesapeake Bay as a national treasure and calls on the federal government to lead a renewed effort to restore and protect the nation’s largest estuary and its watershed.
The Executive Order website includes a blog that will feature a variety of content about the Executive Order, such as discussions about Bay problems, announcements of upcoming public meetings, and documents required by the Executive Order. Through the website the public can provide comments about the Executive Order and use online tools such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr to track Executive Order activities.
“Government transparency and accountability during the Executive Order process is of paramount importance and the website will assist the federal government in achieving these goals,” said U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, who is also chair of the Federal Leadership Committee overseeing development of the Executive Order. “It is vital to allow the 17 million residents of the Chesapeake Bay watershed to participate in the development of new strategies to restore the Bay and using online technology is an effective way to engage the public.”
On September 9, the Bay Program will publish to the website draft reports on how federal agencies will address topics including water pollution, climate change and public access. By November 9, these reports will be merged into a draft strategy for restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay, which also will be published on the website.
Input from the public is critically important to the federal agencies as the various reports and overall strategy are created. When the draft strategy is released on November 9, the formal public comment period will begin. Until then, feedback can be posted on the website under the Provide Comments section. The federal agencies will receive any comments that are posted online.