Advocates press for more funding for Chesapeake Bay cleanup

Written by on August 11, 2021

Advocates press for more funding for Chesapeake Bay cleanup

By Rachel McDevitt / StateImpact Pennslyvania

August 11, 2021

The Pinnacle Overlook offers views of the Susquehanna River’s Lake Aldred in Susquehannock State Park, Lancaster County. Photo | Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Environmental groups are calling on the state Legislature to spend some of the billions from the American Rescue Plan toward waterway cleanup that would benefit the Chesapeake Bay.

Listen to the story.

PennFuture watershed advocate Renee Reber told StateImpact Pennsylvania that counties that contribute pollution to the Chesapeake Bay, such as Lancaster and York, are making progress toward reducing runoff.

But she says support from the Legislature is lacking.

Pennsylvania faces a federal deadline of 2025 to get clean-up practices in place.

“And the state has significantly lagged behind in making progress and a huge part of that has been the funding hurdle,” Reber said.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation says the commonwealth’s plan is underfunded by about $300 million per year.

PennFuture wants lawmakers to pass a few Republican-backed proposals when they return this fall.

One would send $500 million in federal money to the Growing Greener program to support conservation projects. Another would use $250 million to create a clean streams fund.

Reber said the benefits would extend far beyond the bay.

“In the Chesapeake watershed portion of Pennsylvania, there are 15,000 miles of stream that are impaired,” she said.

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