The Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA this week announced 5 more counties have adopted Clean Water Counts resolutions calling on state officials to make clean water a top priority for the Commonwealth.
County support for Clean Water Counts now represents more than half of Pennsylvania’s population.
The new counties include Chester, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh and Warren.
The other 28 counties joining Lancaster in 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.
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 in Harrisburg to invest in local clean water programs and practices.
“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 these counties adopted the resolution. Support for Clean Water Counts now represents more than half of Pennsylvania’s population.”
In Chester County, more than 400 miles of waterways are damaged by agricultural runoff, and more than 230 miles are polluted by urban/suburban runoff, according to the Department of Environmental Protection.
“Clean water is vital to all residents of Lancaster County,” Commissioner Chairman Dennis Stuckey said. “We must ensure that all drinking water is safe and no streams are impaired. Cooperation and collaboration among all stakeholders is necessary to reach this lofty goal. Lancaster County can and will be successful.”
Lancaster County Commissioner Craig Lehman added that, “Freshwater resources are critically important to our local economy and quality of life. Communities that improve their local water quality will have a competitive advantage going forward.”
“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 Lancaster County made this proclamation supporting efforts to clean our rivers and streams.”
In Lancaster County, roughly 882 miles of waterways are damaged by pollution, 650 of those miles are damaged by agricultural activities, according to the Department of Environmental Protection.
“Residents of Lancaster County rely upon clean water for drinking, a wealth of recreational activities, tourism and, for some, their livelihood,” the proclamation states, “and preventing pollution of the waters of our county and reclaiming and restoring our waterways are essential to these purposes.”
In Lebanon County, more than 240 miles of waterways are damaged by agricultural runoff, according to the Department of Environmental Protection.
“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.
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.
By supporting the Clean Water Counts campaign, these 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.
“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.”
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.
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