Must the Courts Resolve All Our Conflicts?

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by Gail Bingham, Conservation Foundation, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Legal, Institutional, Financial and Environmental Aspects of Water Issues:

Abstract: In June 1981, the Maryland Office of Environmental Programs issued a draft 'nutrient control strategy' for the Patuxent River as a first step in preparing a regional water quality management plan for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In response, the Tri-County Council of Southern Maryland challenged the state's plan in court. They viewed the draft plan as unsatisfactory because it would not have removed enough phosphorus from the sewage treatment plants and because it would have done nothing to reduce nitrogen loadings. A three-day meeting involving 40 people representing the diverse interests in the Patuxent River followed, from which a consensus nutrient control strategy emerged. Key portions of the long-term strategy included: reduction of both phosphorus and nitrogen loading of the river from sewage treatment plants in the upstream counties, development of a plan for control of nonpointsource pollution in the downstream counties, and a major experiment in sewage disposal on land. Additional aspects of the subject are discussed.

Subject Headings: Dispute resolution | Rivers and streams | Water resources | Nutrients | Sewage | Phosphorus | Quality control | Water quality | Environmental issues | North America | Maryland | United States

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