The Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA Monday announced Lehigh and Warren counties have now adopted Clean Water Counts resolutions calling on state officials to make clean water a top priority for the Commonwealth.
These two actions bring the total of counties joining Clean Water Counts to 30.
The other 28 counties to sign on to Clean Water Counts are Berks, Cambria, Cameron, Carbon, Centre, Cumberland, Dauphin, Erie, Fayette, Franklin, Greene, Indiana, Jefferson, Lawrence, Luzerne, McKean, Montgomery, Montour, Northumberland, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, Somerset, Susquehanna, Venango, Washington, Westmoreland, Wyoming, and York.
“Our communities, our economy, and our health depend on clean water,” said Harry Campbell, Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Pennsylvania executive director. “We are excited that Lehigh and Warren counties adopted the resolution. Support for Clean Water Counts now represents more than half of Pennsylvania’s population.”
“Lehigh County’s water quality is critical to the well-being of our citizens,” Commissioner Geoff Brace said after the resolution was adopted. “Pennsylvania’s Growing Greener initiatives have had a significant impact on our natural resources, including water quality. I am happy the Board of Commissioners stated its support for this campaign 9-0.”
In Lehigh County, more than 60 miles of waterways are damaged by agricultural runoff, and about 55 miles are polluted by urban/suburban runoff, according to the Department of Environmental Protection.
In Warren County, more than 20 miles of waterways are damaged by agricultural runoff, according to the Department of Environmental Protection.
CBF and the PA Growing Greener Coalition launched the Clean Water Counts campaign in 2014, urging local governments across the Commonwealth to pass resolutions and join in calling on legislators to invest in local clean water programs and practices.
About 19,000 miles of Pennsylvania rivers and streams are polluted, and the Commonwealth has a Clean Water Blueprint to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment runoff that is damaging its waters.
Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency reported that Pennsylvania is significantly behind in meeting its Blueprint goals of having 60 percent of the pollution-reduction practices necessary to restore water quality in place by 2017 and 100 percent in place by 2025.
The Commonwealth’s commitment of resources, such as a new Growing Greener initiative, is critical to the Blueprint’s success.
“Never before has the Commonwealth faced an environment in which a Growing Greener III program was needed more,” Growing Greener Coalition Executive Director Andrew Heath said. “Our water, our land, and our precious resources must be protected and restored. Now is the time to address these issues; pushing the can down the road is no longer an option.”
By supporting the Clean Water Counts campaign, Lehigh, Warren and the other counties are telling lawmakers in Harrisburg that the Commonwealth must get back on track toward meeting its clean water commitments. It’s a legacy worth leaving for future generations.
How Clean Is My Stream?
For more information and find out how clean streams are in your county, visit CBF-PA’s Clean Water Counts In Pennsylvania webpage.
For more on Chesapeake Bay-related issues in Pennsylvania, visit the CBF-PA webpage. Click Here to sign up for Pennsylvania updates (bottom of left column). Click Here for a copy of CBF-PA’s most recent newsletter.
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