Pennsylvania Update

York County PA Farm-John Pavoncello-York Dispatch-1171x593

The boots on the ground—the farmers and the conservation community—are leading the way. It’s time legislators invest in them.

John Pavoncello/York Dispatch

From the Desk of Bill Chain

Fall 2022

State Budget Includes Historic Investments

Pennsylvania's General Fund Budget for fiscal year 2022-23 includes an historic investment of millions of dollars to reduce pollution in Commonwealth rivers and streams.

The $45.2 billion funding package contains a new Clean Streams Fund (CSF). The CSF inclues $220 million to address the top sources of pollution. About $154 million, or 70 percent of the CSF, is dedicated towards a new Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program (ACAP).

CBF joined the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences in creating ACAP. It is a vital cost-share program that will provide county conservation districts additional resources to help farmers design and implement conservation practices.

The Commonwealth will also invest funds to reduce the impacts of polluted runoff from urban areas, clean up acid mine drainage—restoring abandoned mind land across the state—and help plant trees along streams and streets.

Pequea Creek Plan Eligible for Federal Dollars

CBF coordinated a new restoration plan for the Pequea Creek Watershed that was approved by EPA and is now eligible for federal funding to reduce pollution from agriculture and urban development in Lancaster and Chester Counties.

Federal funding through Section 319 of the Clean Water Act addresses non-point source pollution from agriculture, stormwater, and acid mine drainage.

Under the Pequea plan, orchestrated by CBF Watershed Coordinator Brian Gish in Pennsylvania, Section 319 funding will be used to keep soils and nutrients on the land with such practices as cover crops, no-till agriculture, riparian buffers, streambank fencing, streambank stabilization, and other practices.

Pennsylvania's Revised WIP Under EPA Microscope

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has submitted a third version of the Keystone State's Phase 3 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP3) to EPA for review.

Bay states committed to developing and implementing plans to reach pollution reduction goals in the Clean Water Blueprint by 2025. EPA said it would impose consequences if plans or implementation were insufficient.

The Commonwealth's original WIP3, submitted in August 2019, was found by EPA to be insufficient, primarily because it fell short of the state's nitrogen pollution reduction commitment by roughly 27 percent and was underfunded by more than $320 million annually.

When the first revision submitted by the state in late 2021 was still insufficient, in April the EPA gave the Commonwealth 90 days to submit another update. In late summer, EPA was still reviewing the latest version of the WIP3.

The Clean Water Act requires EPA to ensure the Bay states design and implement plans to meet their clean-water commitments.

 —Bill Chain 
Pennsylvania Assistant Director and Agriculture Program Manager
Chesapeake Bay Foundation

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