The Chesapeake Bay is not only an essential natural resource for Maryland, but also for the United States. It is a recognized national treasure. Here in our great State, we've taken on this moral imperative by making a commitment to restore the Bay and ensure that it's an economically and ecologically viable resource for our children and our grandchildren. We have made these commitments in partnership with the other jurisdictions of the Bay's watershed.
Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and the federal government are, together, committed to restoring and protecting our nation's largest estuary.
Despite the pressures that come with population growth and the challenges of economic crises, we have made great progress in conserving thousands of acres of land, reducing levels of harmful nutrient pollution, providing farmers with millions of dollars to implement water quality protection practices. But we still have more work to do.
Now, our years of hard work and partnership efforts are being challenged and threatened by other states objecting to what we have done and plan to do to preserve and protect the Chesapeake Bay.
Recently, the Attorneys General of twenty-one states sued to stop the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from working with Maryland and the other Bay watershed states to restore the Chesapeake Bay. While Maryland certainly wouldn't consider fighting Florida's efforts to restore the Everglades or Utah's efforts to protect the Great Salt Lake, they seem more than willing to challenge our efforts to restore the Chesapeake.
Quite frankly, we do not appreciate their trespassing on our turf.
We are part of the most ambitious, scientifically-driven ecosystem clean-up effort in the nation if not the world. We are working across a watershed of 64,000 square miles to stop polluted runoff from extinguishing our fisheries, suffocating our oysters, and making our waters unswimmable. With wastewater treatment plants incorporating state of the art technology, local governments controlling stormwater runoff, citizens limiting fertilizer applications on their lawns, and farmers planting cover crops, we are taking action to restore the Chesapeake.
Other ecosystem restoration efforts can learn a lot from Maryland's work on the Chesapeake Bay. We know that there is a vital link between how we use our land and the condition of our waters. We cannot become more prosperous if we are not more mindful of the other living systems upon which our prosperity depends.
What good is it for us to spur innovation or make the next major biotechnology discovery if we no longer have a Chesapeake Bay or a Red River? A Lake Michigan or a Missouri River? If we can't swim or fish in our waters? If we no longer have clean air to breathe? If sea-level rise destroys that which we have fought to preserve?
The urgent transformation of the Chesapeake Bay is not just about Maryland or even just the United States. It's about all of us. We need to move from global economies of depletion to local economies of regeneration.
The leaders of these twenty-one states who want to stop the work of Maryland, its sister states, the District of Columbia, and EPA on restoring the Chesapeake Bay could better spend their time preserving the waters in their own backyards. Stop aiding and abetting the polluters who want to prevent us from bringing back the Bay to the glory that we know it offers our citizens. Rather than standing in our way, we encourage them to join us in doing more, together, for the future of our children and for our planet.