Richard Nixon

A clean Chesapeake Bay requires a strong EPA

A clean Chesapeake Bay requires a strong EPA

In September of 1983, the results of a seven-year EPA study of the Chesapeake Bay landed on our respective desks — one of us was the new administrator of EPA, recently re-appointed by President Ronald Reagan after first serving in the position for several years under Richard Nixon a decade earlier, and the other was the new president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

At EPA, the report was immediately made public, and its findings sparked anger and concern; what many suspected was now unavoidable. It made clear the bay was in serious trouble by every measure: dissolved oxygen, aquatic grasses, harvests of crabs, oysters and striped bass, beach closures.

So drastic was the...