(HARRISBURG, PA)—Harry Campbell, executive director for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) in Pennsylvania, issued this statement after the announcement that pollution reduction efforts in the Keystone State would receive an additional $28.7 million in federal and Commonwealth funds.
At the annual meeting of the Chesapeake Executive Council, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania committed an additional $28.7 million to reduce pollution and clean up rivers and streams in Pennsylvania.
Mr. Campbell said:
"It is a good day for all of us who care about cleaning up the rivers and streams in Pennsylvania that flow into the Chesapeake Bay. The additional funding provided by this collaborative federal and state effort is a much-needed down payment that must lead to meaningful progress in closing Pennsylvania's pollution reduction gap and getting it back on track toward meeting its Clean Water Blueprint goals.
"In calling for additional funding, CBF analyzed federal agency data and found that prioritizing new resources in people, places, and practices in five priority counties in south-central Pennsylvania would most efficiently and cost-effectively jumpstart its lagging cleanup efforts. Those counties generate the most pollution from agriculture.
"According to the state Department of Environmental Protection, agriculture is the leading source of impairment to Pennsylvania waters. While some farmers are willing to install conservation practices that will reduce pollution, many are turned away every year because of a lack of resources available to assist them.
"This new federal and state funding will allow more farmers in the Commonwealth to plant streamside buffers, reduce runoff from barnyards, get the required management plans, and other measures critical to the health of Pennsylvania waters and the Chesapeake Bay. Half of the freshwater that flows into the Bay comes from the Susquehanna River Basin.
"In addition to reducing pollution, increased federal and state funding will create jobs and benefit local economies.
"Roughly 19,000 miles of rivers and streams in Pennsylvania are damaged by pollution and the Commonwealth is significantly behind in meeting its Clean Water Blueprint goals. Pennsylvania's Clean Water Blueprint requires that 60 percent of pollution reduction practices be in place by 2017, and 100 percent in place by 2025. The Commonwealth has acknowledged that it will not meet the 2017 goal.
"We appreciate the efforts of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and others in making this funding possible.
"These new investments will not complete the job, but provide a welcome boost toward getting the Commonwealth back on track to the clean water that is a right of every Pennsylvania resident. Work must accelerate toward leaving a legacy of clean rivers and streams that future generations deserve."