(HARRISBURG)—The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania today released its draft plan to ensure that programs and practices are in place to reduce pollution in the Keystone State's rivers and streams by 2025.
The Commonwealth has 19,000 miles of waterways damaged by pollution and has been significantly behind in meeting its Pennsylvania Clean Water Blueprint commitments. The draft plan released today also comes up short in meeting those goals.
By cleaning up its rivers and streams, when achieved this final phase of Pennsylvania's Blueprint (technically called a Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan) will also help to restore water quality in the Chesapeake Bay.
Finishing the job will have a significant, positive benefit for Pennsylvania's economy and its environment. Once the Blueprint is fully implemented, and the benefits fully realized, the value of the natural services provided would increase by $6.2 billion annually. Jobs will be created, farmland will be more productive, and residents will see reduced flooding, cleaner air, and improved recreational opportunities.
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) will take a more detailed look at Pennsylvania's Blueprint and efforts to overcome the shortfall, in order to ensure it issufficient to meet clean-water goals. After the document was released, CBF's Pennsylvania Executive Director Harry Campbell issued this statement.
"Science has developed a roadmap for restoring the Commonwealth's rivers and streams and coming up short in reaching its Blueprint goals is unacceptable.
"Pennsylvania's elected officials have repeatedly fallen far short in investing in the family farms and communities tasked with reducing pollution from agriculture and urban and suburban areas. That must change.
"If the shortfall in the plan released today is not adequately addressed so that Pennsylvania achieves its clean-water goals, EPA must impose consequences as it said it would."