(HARRISBURG, PA)—The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) applauds the Indiana County commissioners, for adopting a Clean Water Counts resolution, calling on state officials to make clean water a top priority for the Commonwealth.
CBF and the Pennsylvania Growing Greener Coalition launched the Clean Water Counts campaign in 2014, urging local governments across the Commonwealth to pass resolutions and join in calling on legislators in Harrisburg to invest in local clean water programs and practices.
Indiana is the 17th county to adopt a Clean Water Counts resolution, meaning the effort now represents more than one-third of Pennsylvania's population. The other 16 counties to sign on are Berks, Cumberland, Erie, Fayette, Greene, Jefferson, Luzerne, Northumberland, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, Somerset, Venango, Washington, Westmoreland, Wyoming, and York.
Roughly 19,000 miles of Pennsylvania waters are impaired. Agriculture is the largest source of pollution to the Commonwealth's streams and rivers. That pollution occurs when nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment run off farm fields into local waterways. The second leading source of pollution in Pennsylvania is acid mine drainage from the legacy of coal mining in parts of the state that include Indiana County.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, there are about 600 miles of impaired waterways in Indiana County. About 300 of those miles are polluted by abandoned mine drainage. More than 180 additional miles of waterways in Indiana County are degraded by agriculture.
"Healthy families, strong communities and a thriving Pennsylvania economy depend on clean water," said Harry Campbell, CBF's Pennsylvania executive director. "We applaud and thank the commissioners in Indiana and the other counties, for publicly voicing their support for clean water in the Keystone State."
"We hope Clean Water Counts continues to build momentum," Growing Greener Coalition Executive Director Andrew Heath added. "The central region is extremely important to motivating greater leadership from Harrisburg on clean water issues and we look forward to working with the other counties in adopting resolutions."
By supporting the Clean Water Counts campaign, Indiana and other counties are telling lawmakers in Harrisburg that clean water is integral to Pennsylvania's economy, communities, and human health. It's a legacy worth leaving future generations.