Harry Campbell, Science Policy and Advocacy Director for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) in Pennsylvania, applauded the announcement that the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) was awarding $12.2 million to help counties reduce polluted runoff and improve local water quality.
The DEP said the Countywide Action Plan (CAP) Implementation Grants include $9.3 million from the state Environmental Stewardship Fund and $2.9 million from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). About $1.6 million of the EPA funding is the first installment of Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act being allocated to DEP for the watershed.
The Commonwealth’s latest Phase 3 Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) is counting on successful CAPs to achieve its Clean Water Blueprint to reduce pollution in local waters and the Chesapeake Bay. Pennsylvania provides half of the freshwater that enters the Bay. Roughly 28,000 miles of Keystone State rivers and streams are impaired by pollution, 46 percent of which drain to the Chesapeake Bay.
About the new grants for countywide action plans Mr. Campbell said:
“CBF congratulates the grant recipients, appreciates their commitments to clean water, and wishes them well on their projects.
“Pennsylvania has a lot of work to do to get back on track and meet its Clean Water Blueprint and CBF applauds the DEP For making these grants.
“It will take greater and continued state and federal investments of financial and technical assistance, like these recent grants, for countywide action plans to be successful.
“Enhancing its latest watershed implementation plan and being held accountable along the way would also be significant steps toward Pennsylvania reaching its Blueprint goals.
“That $9.3 million in grants are made through the Environmental Stewardship Fund (ESF), amplifies the value of growing and protecting the fund. In the past, legislators have considered shifting monies out of the ESF and into other areas. Important work that will be accomplished at the local level with these grants might not be possible without the ESF.”