The Geographical Problems of Diplomacy

For as long as anyone in this country can remember, states have made laws that apply to that particular state’s entire geographical boundaries.  This presents a problem when the state of Pennsylvania makes a law that intends to help pollution in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.  The Chesapeake Bay watershed in Pennsylvania is difficult to manage by the state because Pennsylvania only has a certain amount of its population residing within the confines of the Bay’s watershed, so when it makes laws attempting to clean up the polluted watershed, they do not apply to many of the state’s residents.  For this reason, Pennsylvania should seriously consider making laws based on certain geographical constraints, like the Chesapeake Bay watershed, instead of having them apply to the entire state.  It might be a lot easier if their Chesapeake Bay cleanup effort only applied to the people within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

None of the actual Chesapeake Bay actually lies within the state of Pennsylvania’s borders, so it is difficult to get residents of Pennsylvania to care about the bay and the challenges it faces, most notably pollution from agricultural runoff.  Despite this, it is of utmost importance to the bay’s health.  Fifty percent of the Chesapeake Bay’s freshwater comes from the mighty Susquehanna River which means a lot of runoff coming from the Pennsylvanian farms ends up in the large estuary below (Hardesty).  Even though it is so important to the bay’s persistence, it is difficult to convince Pennsylvania citizens to care about how their actions affect the bay because they lack the connection with the bay us Marylanders have.  They cannot see the effect they are having on the bay the same way we can.  It is extremely difficult to convince citizens that their actions are negatively affecting something so far away.  Problems also arise because only twenty-five percent of Pennsylvania’s population resides within the watershed boundary (Hardesty).  When Pennsylvania attempts to make a law involving pollution and the attempted clean-up of the bay, it becomes problematic because the actions of seventy-five percent of the population have no effect on the Chesapeake Bay.  This is vastly different than Maryland in which ninety-seven percent of the population lives within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

This is why Pennsylvania needs to consider changing their political procedure for this particular issue.  When making laws involving the potential clean-up of the Chesapeake Bay, the state of Pennsylvania should consider only involving the twenty-five percent of residents living within the Bay’s watershed.  This would make for a much easier clean-up effort in that the state would only have to focus on a certain segment of their population in getting them on board and not have to convince the other seventy-five percent of their residents of the legitimacy and urgency of this issue.  If Pennsylvania could somehow only make laws applying to this concentrated quarter of their population, their attempt to clean up their section of the watershed could go much easier and smoother.


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