From the Desk of Harry Campbell Summer 2015

Pennsylvania Declares that Clean Water Counts

Pennsylvania Executive Director Harry Campbell.
CBF's Pennsylvania Executive Director Harry Campbell. 

The chorus of county, organization, and individual voices grows louder across Pennsylvania each day as more names are added to our Clean Water Counts campaign.

The lyrics of this tune say that the status quo is no longer good enough when it comes to efforts to reduce water pollution in Pennsylvania. 

Likewise, more than 12,000 people across the region have made it clear to their governors and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), that it's time the Chesapeake Executive Council stands firmly behind the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint. They are urging the council to take action to get Pennsylvania back on track to meet its pollution-reduction commitments.

The Executive Council meets Thursday, July 23, and is responsible for keeping the Blueprint on track. Considering that restoration efforts are significantly off-track, particularly in Pennsylvania, CBF is calling on the council to provide necessary leadership and to acknowledge that accelerated actions must take place. If you have not already, please send a message to EPA and your governor—before they meet on July 23—urging they fully commit to the Blueprint.

EPA's most recent assessment of 2014-15 milestones shows that Pennsylvania has fallen dangerously behind in meeting its commitments to reduce nitrogen and sediment pollution. But, it is on track to meet its phosphorus-reduction mark. This follows the Commonwealth missing its nitrogen and sediment goals in 2012-13.

Pollution-reduction efforts need to be rebooted if Pennsylvania is to reach its commitment to implement 60 percent of the programs and practices necessary to restore local water quality by 2017 and finish the job by 2025.

The Clean Water Counts campaign in the Commonwealth gives Pennsylvanians an opportunity to join in jumpstarting elected state officials with one collective voice—that clean water must be a top priority for the Keystone State.

CBF and the Pennsylvania Growing Greener Coalition launched the Clean Water Counts campaign last summer, calling on local governments across the Commonwealth to pass clean water resolutions. The campaign gained significant momentum in June, when Philadelphia County added its voice to 14 other counties in adopting the clean water resolution.

The Clean Water Counts campaign continues to gain the support of individuals as well. About 1,500 Pennsylvanians have signed the petition calling on their county officials to pass resolutions.

CBF expanded the campaign's rally for clean water to organizations, groups, and businesses. In a short period of time, more than 80 statewide and regional organizations and numerous conservancies, watershed alliances, and conservation districts have added their names to the cause.

By supporting the Clean Water Counts campaign, Philadelphia and numerous other counties and organizations are telling lawmakers in Harrisburg that clean water is integral to Pennsylvania's economy, communities, and human health. That now is the time for action.

It is the same message that CBF hopes will resonate with the Chesapeake Executive Council on July 23.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, a member of the Executive Council, inherited the Commonwealth's water quality issues and has acknowledged that a pollution-reduction "reboot" of efforts is necessary.

Former Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburgh, one of five past signatories to a regional commitment to restore the Bay, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the council "must commit to action, and now. The commitments must be clear, specific, and measurable."

Those calling on the Executive Council to take action and those signing on to the Clean Water Counts campaign in Pennsylvania, are in harmony with the fact that clean water is a legacy worth leaving future generations.

—Harry Campbell
Pennsylvania Executive Director
Chesapeake Bay Foundation

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