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PA Gets Critical Funds to Reduce Pollution from Farms

Half the fresh water flowing to Chesapeake Bay comes from the Susquehanna River Basin. (Beyond My Ken/Wikimedia Commons)
Half the fresh water flowing to Chesapeake Bay comes from the Susquehanna River Basin. (Beyond My Ken/Wikimedia Commons)
October 5, 2016

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Pennsylvania will receive almost $29 million of new federal and state funding to help reduce pollution flowing into Chesapeake Bay.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Agriculture and the state of Pennsylvania committed the additional funding at the Chesapeake Executive Council's annual meeting.

Harry Campbell, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Pennsylvania, notes that the Commonwealth has fallen behind on its commitment to cut pollution.

"This new investment of resources from the state and federal governments represents a down payment, if you will, to jump start our efforts toward clean water initiatives across the state," he states.

Pennsylvania's Clean Water Blueprint requires that 60 percent of pollution reduction practices be in place by next year, and 100 percent by 2025.

The state has acknowledged that it will not meet next year's goal, and Campbell says even the extra funds won't make that possible.

"But employing a focused effort that looks at the right places and the right pollution reduction practices, and working with the right people, can allow us to rapidly get back on track in terms of meeting our clean water commitments and goals," he points out.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation says meeting pollution reduction goals in five south central Pennsylvania counties would account for more than half of the state's 2025 target for nitrogen pollution reduction.

But cleaning up those five counties still would only be a start. Campbell notes that across the state, there are some 19,000 miles of polluted waterways.

"We need to collectively have the investment and prioritization to do the work that needs to be done across the Commonwealth, but certainly within Pennsylvania's portion of the bay watershed," he says.

Half of the fresh water that flows into Chesapeake Bay comes from the Susquehanna River Basin.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - PA