RICHMOND (AP) -- The Environmental Protection Agency is putting the Chesapeake Bay on a 'pollution diet' in hopes of restoring the largest estuary in the United States. The EPA is calling it one of the world's largest water pollution control projects.

On Wednesday, EPA officials outlined the plan which would reduce nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment from the six states in the watershed (Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, and Delaware) plus the District of Columbia.

The federal agency is now directing a cleanup effort once led by the states.

The 200-mile-long bay has been environmentally crippled by farm, urban and suburban runoff and pollution, creating vast dead zones and harming marine life.

The diet is intended to get the bay off the nation's impaired waters list.

EPA regional administrator Shawn M. Garvin called the agreement 'monumental.'

Governor Bob McDonnell supports the plan.

'We are pleased that EPA has accepted the Virginia Watershed Implementation Plan, ' said Governor McDonnell. 'We feel it is a stringent but workable plan that demonstrates Virginia's commitment to cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay while providing for continued economic growth in the Commonwealth.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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