Report: Sen. Yaw: Raising Enough Money To Implement PA’s Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Plan-- Isn't Going To Happen
After the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Chesapeake Bay briefing January 8, Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming) who serves as Majority Chair of the Committee, told the PA Capital-Star-- “raising that much money [$324 million a year to implement the recommendations in PA’s Clean Water Plan to meet its Bay obligations] through new fees or taxes “isn’t going to happen.”
He added, even if the state generated more than $300 million in new taxes and fees by 2025, “I don’t know that we’d have the wherewithal to spend it.”
In a final comment to PA Capital-Star, Sen. Yaw said-- “The chances of us meeting the 2025 suggested [goals] are not likely.”
Sen. Yaw said he thinks it’s more likely Pennsylvania will get a slap on the wrist from EPA for not meeting its Chesapeake Bay obligations-- “nobody knows what the EPA will do.”
During the Committee briefing, which included representatives of the interstate Chesapeake Bay Commission, PA Farm Bureau, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA, the departments of Agriculture and Environmental Protection and the State Conservation Commission which administers programs supporting county conservation districts, participants agreed--
-- We Have A Credible Plan: The Phase III Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan submitted to EPA showing how Pennsylvania would meet its water quality cleanup obligations was built from the ground up, based on significant local input and buy-in and represents the most credible plan ever developed by the state.
-- We Need More Resources: Many more resources were needed to implement the stakeholder-backed recommendations in the Plan, including help for farmers to install conservation practices, for communities to deal with issues like stormwater and to provide incentives for installing riparian stream buffers.
-- Momentum: As a result of the stakeholder process that was used to develop the WIP III Plan and other issues, there is now momentum and energy building to address clean water issues in the General Assembly and across the state.
On January 24, 2017, Sen. Yaw and other Pennsylvania members of the Chesapeake Bay Commission wrote to all members of the General Assembly putting a spotlight on the need to address the state’s water pollution cleanup problem and suggested creating a dedicated Clean Water Fund for Pennsylvania.
One proposal outlined in the letter was to raise $245 million a year through a fee on water use. And nothing was done. Click Here for more.
The General Assembly actually cut funding $16 million from the Environmental Stewardship (Growing Greener) Fund in FY 2019-20 that could have supported farm conservation and community stormwater pollution reduction projects.
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.
Maryland To File Lawsuit
On the same day as the Senate briefing, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan directed Attorney General Brian Frosh to pursue legal actions against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in order to protect Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts.
“Pennsylvania, which is under ‘enhanced’ or ‘backstop’ federal oversight due to failed pollution reduction efforts, has proposed a draft Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) under which it would fall drastically short of its agreed-upon 2025 pollution reduction targets,” writes Gov. Hogan. “The EPA currently appears to have no intention of taking the necessary action to ensure Pennsylvania’s compliance with its commitments.” Click Here for more.
Lycoming County Authority Approves Multi-Municipal Stormwater Management Plan [Local Leadership In Sen. Yaw’s District]
Mike Reuther: Lycoming County Groups: Healthy Streams Promote Fish Numbers [Local Leadership In Sen. Yaw’s District]
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[Posted: January 9, 2020]
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