New Report from FAIR Looks at Damage to Chesapeake Bay Watershed Resulting from Immigration-Driven Population Growth
(January 13, 2011 — Washington, D.C.) - The data released from the 2010 Census reveal that our nation is on the path of unsustainable population growth. With more than 308 million people an increase of 27 million over the 2000 Census our swelling population, fueled by mass immigration, represents the single greatest threat to the environmental health of our nation.
A new report by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Immigration, Population Growth, and the Chesapeake Bay, examines the impact of immigration-driven population growth on one of the nation’s most threatened ecosystems. The Chesapeake Bay, which is the largest estuary in the United States, provides habitat for 3,600 different plant and animal species. The region is also home to more than 17 million people and that population continues to grow at a rapid rate, exceeding the Bay’s carrying capacity. Unless population growth is stabilized, the problems affecting the Bay will worsen to the point where it may not be able to recover.
Immigration, Population Growth, and the Chesapeake Bay examines the role that U.S. immigration policies play in adding stress to the fragile Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. While recognizing that many factors contribute to population growth in particular areas of the country, the report finds that immigration and births to immigrants now account for about two-thirds of the population growth in the 64,000 square mile area that makes up the bay’s watershed.
Among the key findings of the report:
- Between 2000 and 2009, immigration was directly responsible for 40 percent of the region’s population growth. Taking into account the U.S.-born children of immigrants, immigration was responsible for 66 percent of the area’s population increase during this period.
- The population of the Chesapeake watershed is increasing by some 150,000 annually and is on track to reach 23 million people by 2050.
- Population growth is the primary factor threatening the watershed according to leading environmental groups, although most refuse to acknowledge the impact of immigration.
- Overpopulation in the watershed region threatens the lucrative Chesapeake seafood, recreational and tourism industries. The cost to clean up the Bay was estimated by the EPA in 2007 at $28 billion.
“The degradation of one of the world’s great ecological treasures reminds us once again that the United States must examine the impact of its rapid population growth,” observed Dan Stein, president of FAIR. “What is remarkable, given the unquestioned link between population growth and environmental degradation, is that we are choosing to sacrifice the environment. Some two-thirds of our current population increase results from immigration policies that are seemingly divorced from the reality of their consequences. Mass immigration is a political choice, not an unavoidable natural phenomenon.
“What is happening in the Chesapeake watershed is a graphic example of the consequences of the political decision to maintain immigration at levels that are environmentally unsustainable,” Stein continued. “Our government’s refusal to adopt rational immigration policies that will lead to population stability is placing in peril the very health of our environment.”
Preventing runaway population growth through mass immigration has been a core principle of FAIR since its inception in 1979. For more than three decades, FAIR has consistently called for reductions in overall immigration as a necessary step to preserving the nation’s environment and resource base.
The full report is available here: Immigration, Population Growth, and the Chesapeake Bay.