(HARRISBURG, PA)—The Chesapeake Bay Foundation's (CBF) Pennsylvania Executive Director Harry Campbell issued the following statement applauding Governor Tom Wolf's commitment to clean water for the Commonwealth and the Chesapeake Bay.
Governor Wolf recently told Harrisburg media that, "My commitment remains strong to the Chesapeake Bay. I went to a (Chesapeake Bay Commission) meeting and signaled my determination to do what I can to make sure what we're doing in Pennsylvania is responsible."
The Governor acknowledged the importance of reducing pollution in the Keystone State. "We are still in the middle of the biggest part of the river (Susquehanna) that empties into the bay," Governor Wolf said. "We have a big role to play in cleaning up the bay."
Roughly 19,000 miles of Pennsylvania rivers and streams — roughly one-quarter of all of them — are harmed by pollution. Additionally, the Commonwealth provides half of the freshwater to the Chesapeake Bay. In 2010, Pennsylvania became a full partner in a cooperative state/federal partnership — the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint — to restore local water quality both for our benefit and for those downstream. Pennsylvania's efforts to reduce pollution would be crippled by the proposed federal budget that calls for cutting Environmental Protection Agency funding by 31 percent and elimination of the Chesapeake Bay Program, a critical federal Blueprint partner.
Mr. Campbell said:
"CBF applauds Governor Wolf's commitment and efforts to reduce pollution. If successful, those efforts will benefit Pennsylvanians and all those downstream to the Chesapeake Bay. Not only will our water be cleaner, our health protected, and clean water jobs created, but also our state will enjoy an annual return on investment of $6 billion (19%) in natural benefits according to an independent economic analysis.
"Governor Wolf's determination to clean up Pennsylvania's rivers and streams is important now more than ever, as the proposed federal budget seeks to eliminate federal investment in the Chesapeake Bay Program. Support from the Bay program is critical to the Commonwealth's success in reducing pollution.
"Pennsylvania is already off-track in meeting its Blueprint goals. And, the state is already strapped for cash. The proposed elimination of Bay Program funding, if realized, will put additional burdens on the citizens of Pennsylvania. Under Governor Wolf's watch, Pennsylvania is stepping up its game to restore our rivers and streams. Because of the Commonwealth's 'rebooted' clean water strategy, more farms will have the required pollution reduction plans and more forested buffers will be planted.
"CBF commends Governor Wolf's commitment to the Chesapeake Bay and will continue to work with him in order to leave a legacy of clean water for future generations of Pennsylvanians."
Governor Wolf recently signed a proclamation congratulating CBF on its 50th Anniversary. CBF established its office in Harrisburg in 1986.