Tuesday, January 5, 2021

CBF: If Pennsylvania Does Not Meet Its Obligations To Cleanup Its Water Pollution, The Chesapeake Bay Will Never Be Safe; CBF Will Not Back Off Lawsuit

On January 5, the
Chesapeake Bay Foundation announced its latest assessment of Chesapeake Bay water quality report giving it a D+, but at the same time saying there was reason for hope with the incoming Biden Administration.  Read more here.

However, Will Baker, President of CBF, made it clear, again, where the weakest link is in the chain of events that need to happen to meet the 2025 Chesapeake Bay cleanup milestones-- Pennsylvania-- which provides 50 percent of the fresh water entering the Bay.

“If Pennsylvania does not meet the obligations it's promised to meet by 2025, there is no doubt that the Chesapeake Bay will never be safe. It's that basic,” said Baker.  “That means that the water will continue to be murky and cloudy, which is not good for anything living it, nor for either plant nor fish, nor shellfish, and what we'll see is a continuation and a lack or progress on trying to address the water quality issues.”

“Basically, it all comes down to providing Pennsylvania farmers with cost share funding to put in place the practices which keep the farmland [soil] in Pennsylvania as opposed to flowing into the Susquehanna River and down into the main stem of the Bay.”

“[The] Pennsylvania General Assembly, which has been reluctant to provide the type of assistance to farmers in the Commonwealth that Maryland and Virginia, specifically, have provided for their farmers.

“We feel that the farmers in Pennsylvania are the victims because repeatedly they have demonstrated a willingness to put practices in place.”

“It's not as if Pennsylvania has done zero. But what Pennsylvania has not done is that it has not met the promises to put in place a plan to reduce their pro rata share of the pollution….”

“So while other states are up to date, if you will, in their planning, Pennsylvania's plan, actually, even if it were implemented, would fall far short of what pollution reduction targets Pennsylvania has agreed to meet.”  Read more here.

Harry Campbell, CBF PA Science Policy and Advocacy Director, pointed out Pennsylvania itself has identified a $324 million annual gap in funding to implement its water quality cleanup plan for its portion of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.  Read more here.

The primary source of water quality impairment in Pennsylvania is from agricultural sources.

“So unfortunately, pending the Legislature and others making some tough decisions as it pertains to how to actually incrementally increase that funding, particularly for farmers and conservation efforts on the ground for soil health and water quality so as to achieve these goals [, those goals will not be met], said Campbell.

“Certainly, working with our agricultural partners, both out in their field, but certainly in the Legislature, is critical to this successful endeavor, and that's why we've been partnering with folks like the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and others, and Penn State University, on ideas like an agricultural cost-share program for the state of Pennsylvania, and legislation that would invest in our farmers,” Campbell added.  Read more here.

“Over 50,000 farmers in the state of Pennsylvania help implement, design and implement cost-share programs, conservation programs, on the ground that would improve water quality and, simultaneously, soil health, resulting in better production and nutrient and sediment attenuation, keeping soils on the land instead of the water.”

“(T)hese investments in clean water have their benefits right here in Pennsylvania for our health, economy and well-being,” explained Campbell. 

“But the challenges of the individual personalities within our legislature are persistent and consistent, and so while they may ebb and flow at times, working together with partners like the Farm Bureau, Penn State University, and other conversation enthusiasts and outdoor enthusiasts, are ultimately what we need to do, and are doing, so as to be successful at this endeavor,” said Campbell.

Lawsuit Will Continue

Baker also said CBF is not backing off its lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for not enforcing Chesapeake Bay cleanup requirements on Pennsylvania and New York.  Read more here.

“I've said before, and I'm gonna repeat it, in many respects Pennsylvania is the victim of EPA being missing in action.”

“We are not backing off the litigation at all,” said Baker.  “But we will very much welcome the opportunity to negotiate a settlement, if the [Biden] Administration is willing to engage in such conversations.” 

“We'd like to see the Biden Administration be a champion for allocating more federal Farm Bill Conservation money to the Bay in total, and to Pennsylvania specifically” [to help farmers put in place the best management practices].

“But beyond that, it's critical that [the Biden] Administration undo the across the board environmental rollbacks, specifically to [federal] Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act provisions that have literally pulled the rug out from underneath the states.”

For more on Chesapeake Bay-related issues in Pennsylvania, visit the Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA webpage.  Click Here to sign up for Pennsylvania updates (bottom of left column).  Click Here to support their work.

Also visit the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership to learn how you can help clean water grow on trees.

CBF has over 275,000 members in Bay Watershed.

[PA Chesapeake Bay Plan

[For more information on how Pennsylvania plans to meet its Chesapeake Bay cleanup obligations, visit DEP’s PA’s Phase 3 Watershed Implementation Plan webpage.

[Click Here for a summary of the steps the Plan recommends.

[How Clean Is Your Stream?

[DEP’s Interactive Report Viewer allows you to zoom in on your own stream or watershed to find out how clean your stream is or if it has impaired water quality using the latest information in the draft 2020 Water Quality Report.].

Related Articles -  Chesapeake Bay:

-- DEP Announces Award Of $34 Million In Growing Greener Grants To Fund 149 Community-Driven Local Water Cleanup Projects Across PA

-- DEP Provides Update On Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan Efforts; New Stormwater Manual Coming; Next State Team Meeting Jan. 26

-- CBF: Pennsylvania's Clean Water Wins, Whiffs And Wishes For 2020 And Beyond!

-- CBF: 8 Ways The New Biden Administration Can Save The Chesapeake Bay: #3-- Help PA Farmers With Conservation Practices

-- CBF Praises Congress For Adding $2.5 Million To 2021 Chesapeake Bay Program Budget

Related Articles - PA Budget:

-- New Poll Shows 90% Of PA Voters Want Senate, House Members To Address Environmental, Conservation Priorities, Provide More Funding For Critical Programs

-- PA Farm Bureau, 45 Other Hunting, Angler, Business, Environmental, Watershed Groups Urge Senate, House To Pass On-Farm Conservation Funding Bill This Year

-- Senate Environmental Committee Puts Spotlight On Funding Needed To Implement PA Clean Water Plan At Chesapeake Bay Briefing [January 2020]

-- $201,977,000 Diverted From Environment, Energy Funds To Balance FY 2020-21 State Budget

-- Analysis: 2020 Is A Make Or Break Year For Environmental Funding

-- House Speaker Cutler: Republicans Will First Raid Dedicated Funds To Balance Budget In November

-- House Republicans Pass Bill To Freeze Funding For County Conservation Districts, Local Parks, Farm Conservation, Watershed Restoration Projects; Will Hurt Local Economies

-- House Republicans Moving Bill To Reallocate Keystone Fund, Damage Vitality Of PA’s Outdoor Economy

-- Analysis: Why Republican Freeze On Funding For Local Parks, Trails, Farm Conservation, Mine Reclamation, Recycling Is Bad For The Economy, Communities, The Environment

Related Articles This Week:

-- Chesapeake Bay Foundation Reports Bay Health Down Slightly, But There Is Hope 

-- Foundation For PA Watersheds Schedule For Spring, Fall Grant Applications

-- PA Organization For Watersheds & Rivers Hosts Jan. 15 Webinar On Stream Hydrology And Geomorphology In Restoration Planning 

-- NRCS-PA Hosts Jan. 13 Online Program On Requesting Farm Conservation Assistance

-- Lower, Middle Susquehanna RiverKeepers Urge Public To Use Water Report App To Report Water Quality, Fishing Conditions 

-- Susquehanna River Basin Commission Adopts General Permit For Groundwater Remediation Projects

-- Chesapeake Bay Foundation: New EPA Rule Limits Access To Sound Science

[Posted: January 5, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

No comments :

Post a Comment

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner