The non-partisan Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) citizen watchdog group is lauding a joint action by the Attorney General’s Offices of Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. regarding a failure by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to hold two northern states accountable for their roles in pollution of the Chesapeake Bay. That pollution is seen as a major threat to the Bay’s billion-dollar commercial fishing industry.
Warren County and other Northern Valley counties are also part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed impacted by past mandates on preventing regional pollution from floating downstream to the Bay. Targeted by the trio of AG Offices are EPA failures to hold Pennsylvania and New York to standards mandated as part of the long-term cleanup plan to preserve the Chesapeake Bay’s ability to sustain the aquatic life at the heart of a major source of the U.S. seafood supply.
Below is the full text of the Environmental Integrity Project release on the action, followed by the press release of Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh’s office elaborating on why the suit is being brought forward:
Praise for Legal Action Against Trump EPA over its Failure to Enforce Chesapeake Bay Cleanup
Attorneys General for MD, VA and DC File Notice of Intent to Sue EPA for Failing to Force PA and NY to Reduce Pollution
Washington, D.C. – The Attorneys General of Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia today filed a notice of intent to sue the Trump Administration EPA over its failure to force Pennsylvania and New York State to meet their Chesapeake Bay cleanup obligations under a 2010 regional agreement with a deadline of 2025.
Eric Schaeffer, former Director of Civil Enforcement at EPA and Executive Director of the Environmental Integrity Project, issued the following statement in support of the legal action.
“This is a welcome development and long overdue, because the Trump Administration’s EPA has really fallen down on its job to enforce the Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan,” said Schaeffer. “This lack of accountability has been especially troublesome in the case of the state adding the largest share of pollution in the Bay, Pennsylvania. The Commonwealth has been slashing the budget and staffing of its Department of Environmental Protection and doing little to reduce agricultural pollution and even sewage overflows from the state capital, Harrisburg, during the same decade when it had promised to step up its efforts. Enough is enough.”
A copy of the notice is attached. The notice says in part: “The Bay TMDL (cleanup agreement, or Total Maximum Daily Load) requires Pennsylvania to reduce its nitrogen pollution by about 33.8 million pounds per year. Pennsylvania’s (most recent cleanup plan, called the ‘Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan’) however, reflecting significant deficiencies in funding, shows anticipated reductions of only 24.8 million pounds per year. Thus, Pennsylvania’s Phase III WIP leaves the Bay with an excess of approximately 9 million pounds of nitrogen per year.”
Below is the press release from Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh’s Office:
Attorneys General Frosh, Herring, Racine File Notice of Intent to Sue EPA
Agency Failed to Hold Pennsylvania and New York Accountable for Bay Pollution
BALTIMORE, MD (May 18, 2020) – Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh, joined by the Attorneys General of Virginia and the District of Columbia, today filed a Notice of Intent (NOI) to sue the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its failure to require Pennsylvania and New York to develop and implement plans to achieve 2025 Chesapeake Bay restoration goals. Under the Clean Water Act, EPA has a nondiscretionary duty to “ensure that management plans are developed and implementation is begun by signatories to the Chesapeake Bay Agreement to achieve and maintain” the Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). The TMDL is a comprehensive “pollution diet” aimed at restoring clean water in the Bay States that sets limits for nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, in addition to reductions in sediment.
EPA’s recent evaluation of each Bay state’s Watershed Improvement Plan (WIP) concluded that Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia all will attain their respective necessary load reductions by 2025. EPA also concluded that the plans submitted by Pennsylvania and New York were deficient, falling short of nutrient reduction goals and lacking in sufficient funding. EPA has not, however, required Pennsylvania or New York to develop or implement plans that fully meet the pollution reduction goals.
“The Chesapeake Bay is one of our country’s most valuable natural resources,” said Attorney General Frosh. “Restoring the health of the Bay will take a coordinated, multistate effort with every state sharing the burden. EPA has abandoned its responsibility to regulate and manage the efforts of the Bay states. Together, we fully intend to hold EPA accountable and require it to perform its regulatory duty.”
“Protecting and restoring the Chesapeake Bay requires a comprehensive effort by each of the watershed states as well as the EPA,” said Attorney General Mark R. Herring. “As the administrator of the Chesapeake Bay Agreement, EPA must treat each of the partners equally and make sure every state is pulling its weight and upholding its portion of the agreement, but instead, the Trump EPA simply rubberstamped plans that are plainly inadequate. I hope we are able to come to an understanding that is beneficial for all parties, while keeping the health of the Bay at the forefront.”
“Our coalition of State Attorneys General will not allow the EPA to walk away from its enforcement obligations and undermine decades of work to reduce pollution across the Chesapeake Bay watershed,” said D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine. “The District is committed to reaching our pollution reduction goals, but if other states are not doing their part, and the EPA is not keeping watch, we will fail to restore the Bay and our local waters, including the Potomac River.”
“Maryland will continue to work with all of our partners to meet Bay restoration goals, as this important lawsuit moves forward,” said Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles. “EPA must be held accountable to enforce the clean water commitments made by our upstream partners.”
In 2007, the Bay States and EPA agreed that EPA would establish a TMDL for the entire Bay Watershed. Pursuant to that agreement, in 2010, EPA established the Bay TMDL, a comprehensive “pollution diet” aimed at restoring clean water in the Bay States. The Bay TMDL sets limits for pollution that equate to a 25 percent reduction in nitrogen, a 24 percent reduction in phosphorus, and a 20 percent reduction in sediment. The Bay TMDL further allocates these pollution reductions to the respective Bay States, including Pennsylvania and New York, with a 2025 deadline to achieve the reductions.
To ensure they met the Bay TMDL’s goals, EPA required each Bay State to submit a series of WIPs detailing how it would achieve its allocated pollution reductions over the course of the Bay TMDL’s term. EPA received the third and final WIP for each Bay State on August 23, 2019.EPA concluded that the Phase III WIPs (Watershed Implementation Plan) submitted by Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia showed they would attain the necessary load reductions by 2025. EPA similarly concluded that Delaware and West Virginia had submitted Phase III WIPs that met their respective numeric planning targets and would attain the necessary load reductions by 2025. Pennsylvania and New York, however, submitted Phase III WIPs that failed to meet their planning targets. Pennsylvania’s plan, as approved by EPA, would only achieve approximately 75 percent of its target for nitrogen reduction and reflected significant deficiencies in funding. New York’s plan would only achieve a 64 percent nitrogen reduction – falling short of the planning target by nearly 1 million pounds per year.
EPA has not required Pennsylvania or New York to prepare a Phase III WIP that remedies these deficiencies. The obligations of Pennsylvania and New York in the Bay Agreement and Bay TMDL are critical to restoring clean water in the Chesapeake Bay and its streams, creeks, and rivers. Yet EPA has allowed these jurisdictions to send approximately 10 million excess pounds of nitrogen into the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed every year, and threaten the success of efforts to restore the Bay.
Sunday night house fire ruled arson – occupant charged
On Sunday, May 31, 2020, at approximately 10:20 pm, the Warren County Department of Fire and Rescue Services was dispatched to 121 E. 14th Street, Front Royal, for a reported residential structure fire.
Fire, Rescue, and officers from the Front Royal Police Department arrived at the scene and observed an active fire in the basement with a significant amount of smoke coming from the doors and windows of the first floor. Firefighters initiated a rapid search of the residence and determined no one was trapped inside the home. The fire was quickly extinguished, however, the residence was rendered uninhabitable with an estimated $80,000 in damages. One of the occupants of the home has received assistance from the American Red Cross.
An investigation by the Warren County Fire Marshal’s Office determined the fire was caused by an act of arson and requested assistance by the Front Royal Police Department Criminal Investigations Division.
As a result of the investigation and consultation with the Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney Office, Lauren T. Roberts, a 33-year-old Front Royal resident, has been charged in connection with the fire incident. Ms. Roberts has been charged with a single felony count of Virginia Code § 18.2-77 Burning or destroying a dwelling house. Roberts was transported to the Rappahannock, Shenandoah, Warren (RSW) Regional Jail where she was held without bond. The court date for this offense is on July 28, 2020, at 9 am in Warren County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
Anyone with additional information regarding this incident is asked to contact Fire Marshal G. Maiatico at 540-636-3830 or Detective M.R. Ramey with the Front Royal Police Department Criminal Investigations Division at 540-636-2208.
Royal Comfort Shoe Center relocates & trades spaces with the OPEN HOUSE meeting space on Main Street
WHAT MATTERS Warren—Despite the plethora of challenges faced by retail establishments the past few months, Mark and Yuliya Poe, owners of the Daily Grind and Royal Comfort Shoe Center, have taken a leap of faith that has strengthened their dedication to their Main Street businesses and to the community in which they serve. As of last month, their establishments are now adjacent to each other in the Middle of Main building and the doors of The Daily Grind now open into the delightfully appointed Royal Comfort Shoe Center. The couple can now share resources and staff as the shoe center benefits from a better location closer to the heart of historic Main Street.
More than just a shoe store, the Center offers custom fittings, consultation, and a wide range of high-end footwear. Opened in 2018, they have expanded to now offer 250+ different styles of well known and leading brands in the comfort shoe industry including SAS, Vionic, Propet, Thorogood Boots, Naot, Jambu, Samuel Hubbard, Taos, Sanita, Crocs, Drew, Clarks, Aetrex, Birkenstock, Florsheim and New Balance, and they are constantly adding new brands. In addition to high quality, comfortable, stylish footwear and orthotics, they offer specialty socks as well as shoe repair and shoe lifts (all work is completed in-house). Owner Mark Poe is also proud to provide his guidance from his expertise as a Certified Pedorthist (C-Ped). His decades of experience in the industry ensure customers find the footwear that best supports their individual needs.
The entrepreneurs did much more than embrace relocation and expansion during these trying times surrounding the COVID crisis. They have dedicated their former shoe center storefront at 114 E. Main Street to become the new OPEN HOUSE space and will continue to fulfill the mission of the community meeting space Beth Medved Waller began funding four years ago. In mid-April, as Waller prepared for another month of investing her $2,000 per month commitment to fund the OPEN HOUSE space (unused due to the quarantine since early March), she did some sobering soul-searching. As much as she loved providing the free meeting space, she forced herself to face the reality that she had already invested $4,000 in a building that was sitting empty and would be for the considerable future. “One of my favorite WHAT MATTERS Initiatives was sponsoring OPEN HOUSE. It always warmed my heart to drive by Main Street and see wonderful people of our community gathered and meeting. Great connections, service, ideas, and memories have originated within the space throughout the years. But I couldn’t justify spending thousands more to fund an initiative that would likely be dormant for many months,” said Beth.
Yuliya Poe, who has been the neighbor to OPEN HOUSE for years as she operates The Daily Grind shared, “When we learned of Beth’s decision to close OPEN HOUSE, we offered to immediately take over her lease. We respect the commitment she has for the community and loved what she was doing with the space. When we ran into her in the hallway, and she proposed using her furnishings at OPEN HOUSE to convert the former shoe center location into a meeting space for the community, we did what we do—followed our hearts. Within 24 hours, plans were being made to turn the former shoe center space into a non-profit center and carry on the mission she started.”
Stay tuned for updates about the new OPEN HOUSE, which will be sponsored by their businesses and expanded to offer even more to the Front Royal/Warren County community. And when you find yourself ready to click on Amazon for your next shoe purchase, or drive to neighboring zip codes to open your wallet, be sure to stop by The Royal Comfort Shoe Center instead and give your feet the benefit of friendly local expertise and your heart the privilege of supporting a business that gives back to our community (and of course you’re welcome to enjoy a cup of Daily Grind coffee while you shop). Learn more on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/rcshoecenter/ or call 540-749-2741. They are open Tuesday-Friday from 10 to 5, and Saturday from 9 to 2.
Are you or your group in need of a free video or article that could be created to help market your cause or event? Or do you have an interesting story to share? Beth’s WHAT MATTERS Warren videos post on Facebook and YouTube. They are also shared with the Royal Examiner online (most are distributed in their daily email blast to thousands of local residents). Sign up for the Royal Examiner at www.royalexaminer.com and check out the “WHAT MATTERS Warren” tab under “Features.”
Learn more about Beth’s nonprofit, WHAT MATTERS, a 501 (c) (3), at www.whatmattersw2.com–check out the “Community” section to request a TOWN TIP or WHAT MATTERS WARREN BETHvid or contact her at 540-671-6145 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About WHAT MATTERS:
WHAT MATTERS is a 501(c)(3) that focuses on local and global outreach to help spread the word, support and raise funds for causes that matter (primarily through Facebook). WHAT MATTERS has ZERO overhead as 100% of the expenses are funded by Beth’s real estate business thanks to her clients and supporters. Every cent donated goes to the cause. If you’d like to get involved with her local or international nonprofit work or travel to Africa with her on a future trip to work with the children of Light up Life Foundations, please visit www.whatmattersw2.com. Be sure to check out the “projects” tab for her current WHAT MATTERS Initiatives.
Governor Northam COVID-19 update briefing – June 2, 2020; addresses protest, Phase 2 starts Friday
Governor Northam joins the Virginia Emergency Support Team to share the latest updates on the COVID-19 response. Here are the highlights:
The Governor began the June 2 briefing by discussing the protests across Virginia. His message to protesters is “I hear you,” and that he pledges to stand with them. Several spoke with the Governor including 70th District Del. Delores McQuinn, Shirley Ginwright with the Virginia African American Advisory Board, and Jim Bibbs, chief human resources officer for the Virginia Port Authority.
The Governor announced most of the state can move into Phase Two of reopening the state this Friday, June 5. He said Northern Virginia, Richmond, and Accomack County will stay in Phase One.
Here are some changes under Phase Two:
- Restaurants can have indoor seating at 50 percent capacity
- Gyms can have indoor classes/ workouts at 30 percent capacity
- Pools can open with some restrictions
- Museums/zoos can open with restrictions
- Recreational sports allowed but there can be no shared equipment
- Gatherings limited to 50 people rather than 10
Changing a life, one car at a time
WHAT MATTERS Warren — Bill and Sandy Long, owners of the Auto Care Clinic in Front Royal, had no idea in 2018 that their car giveaway event would prompt them to start their own 501 (c)(3) nonprofit a year later. The generous couple has a goal of giving away one car per month through “Cars Changing Lives” and they have already donated 7 cars to those in need. Learn more about their efforts as they passionately describe their nonprofit during this video:
The Longs have a long history of giving back to the community they love. They enjoy providing uniforms for several sports teams, monetarily supporting local non-profits and completing charity repairs for local churches. They’ve also raised significant funds through area fundraisers. They are partnering with case managers of local non-profit organizations such as Phoenix Project, United Way, Front Royal Women’s Resource Center, and Valley Assistance Network (VAN), to discover recipients for their free vehicles. If you or someone you know is in need of transportation, contact a local nonprofit to inquire about being nominated.
Those interested in learning more about their ministry, volunteering, contributing tax-deductible funds, donating vehicles (running or not) or helping with preparing cars for grateful new owners are encouraged to contact them at (540) 635-2455 or email@example.com. Be sure to visit their website and like their Facebook page.
WHAT MATTERS INITIATIVE
Are you or your group in need of a free video that could be created to help market your cause or event? Beth’s WHAT MATTERS Warren videos post on Facebook and YouTube.
Learn more Beth’s nonprofit, WHAT MATTERS, a 501 (c) (3), at www.whatmattersw2.com – check out the “Community” section to request a TOWN TIP or WHAT MATTERS WARREN BETHvid or contact her at 540-671-6145 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About WHAT MATTERS:
WHAT MATTERS is a 501(c)(3) that focuses on local and global outreach to help spread the word, support and raise funds for causes that matter (primarily through Facebook). WHAT MATTERS has ZERO overhead as 100% of the expenses are funded by Beth’s real estate business thanks to her clients and supporters. Every cent raised goes to the cause she’s promoting and most are matched by Beth. If you’d like to get involved, or travel to Africa with her on a future trip to work with the children of Light up Life Foundations, please visit www.whatmattersw2.com.
Local NAACP leadership and police show unity and outrage over Floyd death
Leaders of the Front Royal and Warren County black community met with Town and County political and law enforcement leadership Monday afternoon, June 1, in a show of unity surrounding the potential of protests here stemming from public outrage over the death in police custody of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota a week ago, on May 25.
Demonstrations have developed around the nation, some turning violent, in the wake of widespread viewing of video recording of Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin’s pinning Floyd, who was suspected of passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a nearby delicatessen, to the ground with his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd can be heard in cell phone video taken by bystanders pleading for his life, calling to his dead mother, saying he could not breathe and was dying.
The four involved Minneapolis police officers were fired the following day and Chauvin has been charged with third degree murder. But the delay in charging the three other involved former officers and some aggressive police responses to demonstrations in Minneapolis, including targeting a CNN news crew for arrest, and firing “pepper” rounds at an NBC news affiliate team and rubber bullets into crowds in Louisville, Kentucky, has led to escalating hostility, rioting and violence.
That rioting has drawn scathing comment from black leaders, including Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and rapper Killer Mike, among others. Controversy has also erupted about the potential of white “agent provocateurs”, in particular one identified as the “black umbrella man” in inciting peaceful demonstrations toward violence.
Monday’s meeting between black community leaders and local police was called to show that years of “community policing” networking has paid off in placing our black community and our local law enforcement apparatuses at a common point of mutual interest in assuring that the type of thing that happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota would not happen here.
Moderating at the noon event held in the outdoor foyer area of the Monroe Avenue Front Royal Police Department headquarters was Warren-Page County NAACP President Alford D. Carter III. Carter was accompanied by his son, Alford IV, the Reverend Alfred Wood who performed an invocation and closing prayer, and about five other members of the black community. In addition to FRPD Chief Kahle Magalis and Warren County Sheriff Mark Butler, attending were Front Royal Mayor Gene Tewalt, County Board and Emergency Management Team Chairman Walt Mabe and County Emergency Services Deputy Manager Rick Farrall, among other officers from both local law enforcement agencies. Joining that crowd was Strasburg Police Chief Wayne Sagar.
The message was clear – what happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis in police custody is NOT acceptable, not only to the black community but to the law enforcement community here and across the nation for those wearing a badge after swearing to “serve and protect”.
With a nod to his FRPD counterpart Chief Magalis, Warren County Sheriff Mark Butler cited not only outrage within minority communities, but in law enforcement at the Floyd killing at the hands of law enforcement officers.
“I got a call from my son, who is in security forces. And he’s like, ‘Dad, can you believe this?’ And I said, ‘Well, how do you feel about it?’ And he goes, ‘He (Officer Chauvin) just disgraced our entire profession. And I’m sure, the chief will probably go along with me on this one, any professional law enforcement officer will literally sit and tell you, ‘That is NOT who we are. That is NOT what we raised our hand to be or to do.’
“And I can promise that any person who is wearing a badge for the right reasons would never do anything to harm someone intentionally. And we have just as much anger towards that incident as anyone else – we really do,” Sheriff Butler told those assembled.
See the full, approximately 50-minute NAACP-sponsored community meeting, with remarks from a variety of perspectives on where we as a community, and a nation, are and hope to be in the future, in this exclusive Royal Examiner video:
Warren County Public Schools Kindergarten Registration for the 2020-2021 school year
PLEASE REGISTER YOUR CHILD EVEN IF ALL OF THE ABOVE INFORMATION HAS NOT BEEN OBTAINED
If you have any questions, please call (540) 635-2171, extension 34236.
Technical Questions: contact Amy Himes (540) 635-7123, extension 46125, or Kathy Gross (540) 635-7123, extension 46124.