Sen. Mike Brubaker (R-Lancaster), Majority Chair of the PA Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, offered testimony to the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife Management today to detail the success and limitations of the Federal governments Chesapeake Bay Restoration Program.
Sen. Brubaker lauded the success of the 30-year-old effort, evidenced by the reduction of Pennsylvania's nitrogen loads of more than 1 million pounds a year, but he noted that strict accountability standards will be needed to ensure that the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Program meets its pollution reduction goals. Brubaker noted the contribution of best agricultural management practices in helping farmers reduce nitrogen and phosphorus infiltration and sediment runoff. However, he also pointed out that residential and commercial developers, property owners, and local governments have stakes in the solution.
"Growth is necessary to a healthy economy, but good decisions on when and where growth occurs can prevent the need for costly changes down the road," Sen. Brubaker said. "This is where developers, property owners, and local governments become key partners in our efforts to reduce pollution in the Chesapeake Bay watershed."
Sen. Brubaker said that Pennsylvania had taken a strong step forward by agreeing to an implementation deadline toward meeting pollution reduction goals by 2025 with two-year milestone goals along the way. He said that local decision-makers should have a clear understanding of the expectations for reducing pollution and the tools and resources to reach these expectations.
Sen. Brubaker also noted the efforts of the bipartisan Lancaster County Chesapeake Bay Tributary Task Force in identifying strategies to help the state meet its pollution reduction goals.
"Bringing a diverse group of stakeholders to the table is the best way to address the growth issue," Sen. Brubaker said. "The Task Force has been actively engaged in developing ways to comply with the Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy while dealing with the unique challenges in our communities." (click here to visit Sen. Brubaker's website.)