Friday, March 22, 2019

PA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Planning Steering Committee Workgroup Estimates Funding Gap Of $1.467 Billion Over Next 6 Years

The Funding Workgroup of the PA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan Steering Committee estimated an annual funding gap of $244.5 million over at least the next 6 years totaling $1.467 billion to implement practices needed to meet Pennsylvania’s Bay cleanup obligations.
If Pennsylvania continued with its existing programs and resources, it would miss the 2025 nitrogen reduction goal by at least 19 years (2044).
In contrast, with existing programs, Pennsylvania should meet its phosphorus reduction goal by 2025.
The Chesapeake Bay Program and DEP presented estimates it would cost about $459.6 million annually for the next 6 years to achieve the nitrogen and phosphorus reductions recommended by the Agriculture ($313.1 million), Stormwater ($78.5 million) and Forestry ($67.7 million) workgroups considering capital, maintenance and operating costs over the life of the best management practices recommended.
The Funding Workground said agency implementation of the Bay Watershed Plan for the state and counties will result in needing an additional 188 people at an annual cost of $14.1 million.
Between implementing the Workgroup recommendations and the personnel needed, the Funding Workgroup said there was a need for $473.5 million annually for at least the next 6 years.  Existing resources equal $229.1 million a year, so there is a gap of $244.5 million a year for the next 6 years.
Among the list of options included in the Funding Workgroup Report to close the gap were--
-- Expand funding for TreeVitalize, Growing Greener and Abandoned Mine Reclamation
-- Use PennVEST funds to create county revolving loan funds
-- Leveraging the existing Farmland Preservation Program to promote conservation
-- Provide agriculture integrator incentives and industry pressure
-- Adopt the Restore Pennsylvania funding initiative, PA Farm Bill
-- Expand the REAP Farm Conservation Tax Credit Program
-- Use pay for performance mechanisms to attract private capital
-- Eliminate the Sales Tax Exemption for bottled water
-- Adopt a water use fee
The presentations given at the meeting are included in these handouts--
The next meeting of the Steering Committee has been scheduled for April 3, 2nd Floor Auditorium, Rachel Carson Building starting at 9:00 a.m. to review the draft of the Watershed Implementation Plan.  Click Here to join the meeting via Skype.   Participants may also need to call in +1 (267) 332-8737. CONFERENCE ID: 75588007.
For more information and copies of available handouts, visit the PA Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan Steering Committee webpage.
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