Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has received word that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved Virginia's Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan submitted by the Administration in November.

The plan was developed as part of EPA's establishment of a total maximum daily load (TMDL) or "pollution diet" for the Chesapeake Bay. Virginia is one of seven Bay jurisdictions which develop such plans. The TMDL sets goals for all the Bay states and the District of Columbia to reduce the levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment entering the Chesapeake Bay from its rivers and streams.

"We are pleased that EPA has accepted the Virginia Watershed Implementation Plan as a part of their Chesapeake Bay TMDL," said Governor McDonnell. "Our plan reflects recommendations made by the public and Virginia stakeholder groups and proposes specific actions in appropriate timeframes to achieve significant cost effective reductions in pollution to the Bay. We feel it is a stringent but workable plan that demonstrates Virginia's commitment to cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay, while providing for continued economic growth in the Commonwealth. After much discussion with the EPA, the approved plan balances the important environmental protection concerns with the need to protect jobs in agriculture and farming. While we maintain our concern about aspects of the EPA watershed model and enforcement authority, as well as the significant additional public and private sector costs associated with plan implementation, we believe Virginia's plan will make a significant contribution to improving water quality in the Bay."

The plan identifies actions to reduce the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment entering the Bay from all major sources, including sewage treatment plants, industrial facilities, urban areas, agriculture, forestry and septic systems. It also establishes a special process for evaluating the James River based on its unique characteristics and on water quality standards that apply only to that river.