Twenty lawmakers are demanding to know whether the Environmental Protection Agency considers its pollution reduction targets for the Chesapeake Bay legally enforceable.

Maryland Democratic Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin led the group of six senators and 14 members of the House of Representatives who penned a letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler following what they called “alarming” comments by the director of EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program, Dana Aunkst.

Aunkst told a meeting of the Chesapeake Bay Commission Jan. 3 that the 2025 goals in the Bay’s Total Maximum Daily Load, the term for the pollution reduction targets, are merely “aspirational.” 

EPA’s recent review of state plans for the TMDL found Pennsylvania’s plan fell significantly short, but EPA did not commit to taking action against the state.

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