HARRISBURG – The state Senate Environmental Resources & Energy Committee will hold a discussion next week on Pennsylvania’s efforts to curb Chesapeake Bay pollution, according to Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23), Chair of the Committee.
In 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established a regulatory “Total Maximum Daily Load” to reduce the amount of nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment that Pennsylvania, five other states and the District of Columbia send into the Chesapeake Bay by 2025. Sources include wastewater treatment systems, urban stormwater, and agricultural runoff. These goals were reaffirmed by the Bay jurisdictions and EPA in the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.
In order to help get the Commonwealth back on track to meet the goals, 10 percent of Pennsylvania farms in the Bay watershed are inspected annually to ensure they have written plans for manure or nutrient management and erosion control. A “Phase III” Watershed Implementation Plan was also finalized in August and outlines several additional measures that the state plans to take. Key to implementation will be the closing of a $324 million funding gap for the work.
“Based on extensive testing undertakings, we know where the problems are in the watershed,” Sen. Yaw said. “Frankly, the areas which need the most attention lie in that part of the watershed south of Harrisburg. Without question, we face significant challenges in meeting the EPA TMDL requirements. We just need the time and, most importantly, the resources to address those problem areas.”
The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, along with the state Chesapeake Bay Commission Delegation, will hold the ‘Briefing on the Bay’ on Wednesday, January 8th, 2020, 9AM-11AM at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex, Crossroads Conference Center (2nd Level), Erie Room, 2300 North Cameron Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9443.
Individuals offering comments include: Ann P. Swanson, Executive Director, Chesapeake Bay Commission; Secretary Russell Redding, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture; Secretary Patrick McDonnell, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection; Karl Brown, Executive Secretary, Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission; David Graybill, Board Member, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau; and Bill Chain, Senior Agriculture Program Manager, Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
The hearing will not be streamed LIVE, but will be posted on the Committee website that day. For more committee-related news and information visit https://environmental.pasenategop.com/, Senator Yaw’s website at www.SenatorGeneYaw.com or on Facebook and Twitter @SenatorGeneYaw.