'For clean streams and clean politics,' was Franklin L. Kury's campaign slogan in 1966, when he first ran for a seat in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. He went on to author the state constitution's Environmental Rights Amendment, which gives all Pennsylvanians the explicit right to clean air and water. The amendment was the first of its kind in the nation and remains rare among state constitutions today—it also predated the federal Clean Water Act passed 50 years ago this month, in 1972. Kury discussed with us the amendment's genesis, how it can be used today to advance clean water protections and climate action in Pennsylvania, and how it could be a model for the country. On the anniversary of the federal Clean Water Act, we take a look at the law's impact in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, detail what states need to do to meet restoration commitments in our latest State of the Blueprint report, and share a message from CBF President and CEO Hilary Harp Falk on the path forward. We also profile CBF's first biologist, Nancy Kelly, whose work in the 1970s and beyond helped shape protections for the watershed's streams and wetlands and provide an update on a pivotal Supreme Court case that could jeopardize wetlands. Check out our monthly news round-up for other big headlines.
State of the Blueprint
Our latest State of the Blueprint report asks one question: Are the Bay states on track to reduce pollution by the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint's 2025 deadline? Based on our assessment, the answer collectively is 'no.' Check out the report to see where things stand now and how restoration can get back on track.
VIDEO: Clean Water Act at 50
When Congress enacted the Clean Water Act over President Nixon's veto in 1972, the Chesapeake Bay was suffering from significant pollution problems. Now, 50 years later, we discuss the impact of this landmark federal law on the Bay's water quality. We also take a look at what work is still left to do.
Clean Water's Future
The Clean Water Act is just the start—the restoration of the nation's rivers, streams, lakes, and coastal waters remains an ongoing project. CBF President and CEO Hilary Harp Falk discusses how collective action is making a difference for Bay restoration and why this moment—despite its significant challenges—is cause for optimism.
Pennsylvania's Uncommon Rights
Franklin L. Kury was elected to the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 1966 and went on to author the state constitution's Environmental Rights Amendment, ratified in 1971. He reflects on how the amendment, still rare today, can be used to drive protections for Pennsylvania's water, air, and climate (and why the nation should follow its example).
Wetlands are Waters, Too
An upcoming Supreme Court decision could determine the fate of thousands of acres of wetlands in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. We're closely watching the case, Sackett v. EPA, which had oral arguments Oct. 3. Its outcome has significant implications for the protection of unique, isolated freshwater wetlands called Delmarva bays and pocosins, as well as certain streams.
Speaking for the Streams
Nancy Kelly was CBF's first biologist in the 1970s—right when the Clean Water Act ushered in a new era for environmental protections. Throughout her career at CBF and beyond, she conducted water quality studies, mapped wetlands, and served as an expert witness in hearings that helped shape protections for the watershed. She's still at it.
VIDEO: Around the Bay in 60 Seconds
In this month's news roundup: A film links the plight of the hellbender, Pennsylvania's state amphibian, with concerns over gas development; a settlement agreement should stop long-term pollution related to the Eastern Shore poultry processing facility Valley Proteins; CBF staff get accolades for work planting forest buffers in the upper James River watershed; and more.
What You Can Do
- Have a Chesapeake-style Halloween! Use our free Bay-themed pumpkin stencils to carve your very own ches-o'-lantern.
- It's National Estate Planning Awareness Week. Protect what matters most and establish a meaningful legacy by using FreeWill's free online resource to create your will today.
- Legislative sessions for 2023 will be kicking off before you know, and things move quickly. Stay up-to-date on all things related to Bay advocacy by joining our SMS alert network.
- Sign up for our monthly Save the Bay e-newsletter.
- Help us continue to bring the Bay and its rivers and streams to you each month. Donate today.