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The list of accusers against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh continues to swell. Also on the Tuesday rundown: Hurricane Florence SNAPs North Carolina to attention on the importance of food benefits; plus a new report says young parents need better supports.

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State Must Spend to Meet Clean Water Goals

Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection estimates that only 30 percent of farms in the state comply with current clean-water laws. (Nicholas/Wikimedia Commons)
Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection estimates that only 30 percent of farms in the state comply with current clean-water laws. (Nicholas/Wikimedia Commons)
January 22, 2016

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The state on Thursday unveiled its new strategy for cleaning up polluted rivers and streams - but it's going to take money to implement.

Pennsylvania has fallen behind in its efforts to clean up some 19,000 miles of polluted waterways. The new plan establishes a number of immediate and long-term actions to get back on track.

Harry Campbell, state director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, said the state acknowledges that its efforts to date have fallen short.

"So, we have a lot of catch-up to do," he said. "And in order to do that, we need to have the resources, both in personnel as well as in assistance for farmers and others to actually implement practices."

According to a Pennsylvania State University study, it will cost almost $380 million a year over the next decade to implement the agricultural practices needed to meet the pollution-reduction goals - and agriculture is key. A 2010 agreement with other states and the federal Environmental Protection Agency established benchmarks for reducing nitrogen pollution flowing into Chesapeake Bay. Campbell said those reductions are now off by 29 million pounds.

"Pennsylvania is responsible for 23 million pounds of that," he said, "of which 81 percent of that 23 million pounds comes from agriculture."

The state Department of Environmental Protection estimated that only 30 percent of farms in the state are in compliance with current state clean-water laws.

The EPA already has withheld $3 million for Pennsylvania's failure to meet clean-water commitments. Campbell said failure to implement the new plan would bring more sanctions.

"These are real consequences that will result in changes in regulatory schemes and how Pennsylvania can spend certain allocations, that will affect Pennsylvanian taxpayers and ratepayers," he said.

But if Pennsylvania's clean-water plans are fully implemented, he said, the value of natural benefits would increase by an estimated $6.2 billion annually.

More information is online at dep.pa.gov.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - PA