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A Final Chance for Pennsylvania

The following letter by CBF Pennsylvania Executive Director Matt Ehrhart was recently published on LancasterOnline.com

TO THE EDITORS:
The Jan. 12 article, "EPA Eyes tougher Bay measures," included concerns that EPA might exert too much control over state and local efforts.

However, absent strong federal involvement, we have seen 25 years of failed promises to clean local rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. EPA is under a court order to limit pollution, and has made it clear that it will impose serious consequences if the bay states continue to fail to improve water quality.

This is the final chance for Pennsylvania to create a plan that is strategic for Pennsylvania, to commit the necessary resources and to hold itself accountable. Lancaster County must be at the center of that plan based on the high pollution loads from the county. The goals are achievable. Agriculture, across the bay watershed in Pennsylvania, has achieved approximately 45 percent of its nitrogen reduction goal--more progress than any other sector. Wastewater treatment plants are implementing upgrades to meet new permit limits. Stormwater and the nutrient runoff from urban and suburban areas remain an outstanding problem. Much work remains for all of us.

We need the resources and commitments to meet the goals. Some of this must come from the governor and state Legislature. There is also proposed federal legislation, the Chesapeake Clean Water Act, that would authorize $1.5 billion to address community needs for stormwater improvement, $96 million for agricultural technical assistance and a trading program that could generate $117 million annually for Pennsylvania farmers.

Sen. Specter's support will be key to passing the legislation.

Matthew Ehrhart
Pa. Executive Director
Chesapeake Bay Foundation

If you live in Pennsylvania and support this opportunity to clean up the Commonwealth's rivers and streams, please take a moment to write to Senator Specter and urge him to support the Chesapeake Clean Water Act.