In a climate when budgets are tight, and debt is mounting, investments in the future are often viewed as unattainable luxuries. Immediate demands are given priority. Shortsightedly, environmental conservation measures often fall victim to the budget ax.
Just a few weeks ago, Pennsylvania announced a new "reboot" to improve water quality in the Keystone State. This reboot, an acknowledgment that Pennsylvania is behind the ball on meeting its clean water commitments, focuses on increased compliance and funding. Details of the plan include increasing the number of farm inspections, accelerating the planting of streamside buffers, and addressing the challenges of polluted runoff from urban/suburban areas by updating permit requirements and implementation plans by local governments.
As we said when the plan was first announced, paying for implementation of the plan represents a funding challenge. However, investing in clean water pays dividends. Conservation practices not only improve water quality, but can improve farm production and herd health, reduce nuisance flooding in communities, improve hunting and fishing, beautify urban centers, and even clean the air. What's more, a 2014 economic analysis found that fully implementing Pennsylvania's clean water plans will result in an increase in the value of natural benefits by $6.2 billion annually.
In light of the smart investment to clean the Keystone State's waters, we were disappointed to learn that Governor Tom Wolf's 2016-17 budget proposal lacks the funding to implement the new clean water Blueprint. With roughly 19,000 miles of rivers and streams in Pennsylvania damaged by pollution, the need for a strong investment is not a trivial matter. We will continue to fight for clean water throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and keep the pressure on Pennsylvania to meet its clean water commitments.
This Week in the Watershed: Funding Blunder, Toxic Waste, and Flooding Threats
- A coalition of environmental groups is appealing a decision allowing two coal ash ponds to be drained into Chesapeake Bay tributaries. (Bay Journal)
- Flooding is a constant threat faced by the Hampton Roads community. Turns out, natural infrastructure might be able to help. (WTKR--VA)
- When considering responsible parties for toxic waste, chemical and energy companies are usually blamed. A new analysis, however, reveals another industry dumps more toxic pollution by volume into U.S. waters than any other industry. (Think Progress)
- On the heels of a recently announced "reboot" to improve water quality in the Keystone State, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf's 2016-17 budget proposal lacks the funding to implement the new clean water Blueprint. Unless the Commonwealth invests more in clean water, Pennsylvania will not meet its clean water commitments. (CBF Press Release--PA)
- The poultry industry has changed drastically according to one poultry farmer. And many of the changes are bad for local water quality. (Bay Journal News Service)
What's Happening Around the Watershed?
- Annapolis, MD: The inaugural Annapolis "Save the Bay Breakfast" will feature an update on the current State of the Bay and the hottest topics affecting the future of the Bay and its rivers and streams in this year's Maryland General Assembly session. We hope you will join us, and other fans and friends of the Bay, for good food for the body and mind.
- Richmond, VA: Join the CBF Hampton Roads office for a special "Lobby Day" in the state capital. Participate in the legislative process from the inside out. Meet your representatives, see the delegation in session and committee, and raise your voice for water quality issues in your community. Interested? Contact Tanner Council at firstname.lastname@example.org or 757-622-1964, ext. 3305.
- Charlottesville, VA: Enjoy an intimate dinner to benefit the Chesapeake Bay Foundation with music provided by Michael Coleman and Butch Taylor. Savor Bold Rock Cider, Rappahannock Oysters, and live music before a seated dinner of freshly prepared wildfowl and game by Chef Tomas presented with a selection of Spanish wines. Proceeds from this event benefit CBF. Click here for more information and to buy tickets!
- Richmond, VA: Enjoy tasty sweets and sweet knowledge at CBF's Desserts and Discussion, where we'll learn about different aspects of our local waterways! This month's topic is wetlands and their importance to water quality. Bring a dessert to share with the group and win a prize for the most delicious contribution! CBF will also provide coffee, tea, and other drinks.
--Drew Robinson, CBF's Digital Media Associate