Friday, August 23, 2019

CBF: Pennsylvania's Plan To Reduce Water Pollution Going To Chesapeake Bay Sorely Deficient

In a statement on August 23, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation called Pennsylvania's final Plan for meeting its 2025 obligations to reduce water pollution going to the Bay "sorely deficient," for being more than 25 percent short of reaching its reduction goal for nitrogen and having an annual funding gap of over $320 million.
“Pennsylvania has failed in the past to meet its commitments to reduce pollution. It is completely unacceptable for the Commonwealth to put forth a final plan that both misses the mark and lacks the resources to achieve the goal it put forward,” said CBF President William C. Baker. “EPA has both the authority and responsibility to either require the Commonwealth to achieve the goals it originally set or to impose consequences.”
The largest problem in Pennsylvania is reducing pollution from agriculture. Agriculture is an integral part of the Commonwealth’s culture and economy. 
Pennsylvania’s plan focuses on improving farm soil health through cover crops and no-till planting, planting forested buffers alongside streams, and many other proven conservation tools and practices that not only reduce stream pollution, but often increase agricultural production.  
However, CBF said Pennsylvania’s elected leaders have failed to adequately invest in helping implement those practices on the more than 33,000 family farms in the watershed.
“Unlike past plans, Pennsylvania’s plan reflects the two years of extensive engagement and collaboration among farmers, townships, conservationists, and many others. And, for the first time, will establish detailed countywide action plans for the 43 counties in Pennsylvania’s bay watershed. Yet, the plan falls short in meeting nitrogen pollution reduction commitments and, critically lacks the funding necessary for implementation,” said CBF Pennsylvania Executive Director Harry Campbell. 
With respect to Virginia and Maryland, CBF said while those states still have work to do, both  are largely on track to have programs and practices in place by 2025 that will restore water quality in local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay.
“This is a critical moment in the 30-year effort to save this national treasure,” Baker said. “As we enter the late innings of the game, the potential for real success is close. We could see a restored Bay in our lifetime. The alternative would be a national disgrace.”
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.
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