(HARRISBURG, PA)—Harry Campbell, Pennsylvania Director for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), today issued the following statement in response to the Pennsylvania Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee's passage of HB1565.
The Bill removes streamside forest buffer protections for Pennsylvania's most pristine streams, and if passed by the full Senate, will open up waterways throughout the Commonwealth to increased pollution threats from development.
"CBF is disappointed that HB1565 has passed out of committee, and urges the full senate to reject this bill. The bill will open up Pennsylvania's most pristine waterways to increased pollution threats from development.
"Pennsylvania has a commitment to clean up our waterways, and streamside forested buffers are one of the most cost-effective, common-sense solutions to reducing pollution, managing floods, and maintaining iconic and economically important fish, like the brook trout.
"A report released today by CBF assessed natural values of forests, including forest riparian buffers, in Pennsylvania's portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed at being over $31 billion annually if the Clean Water Blueprint is implemented. Pennsylvania's Blueprint plan relies heavily on protecting and restoring forested buffers.
"It simply does not make sense to allow developers to cut down existing trees, especially along Pennsylvania's last remaining pristine streams.
"Thousands of farmers and hundreds of developers, local governments, and businesses throughout the state have already planted and preserved buffers. These investments have all been made with the goal of managing polluted runoff, reducing flooding, and enhancing property values in the Keystone State."