Monday, June 15, 2015

EPA Unhappy with Pennsylvania Bay Progress

It's all the talk on the Bay News today. Here's the Bay Journal's, the EPA's house organ has to say: EPA review finds Pennsylvania significantly off track to meet Bay goals
Pennsylvania this year needs to double the number of farm acres under nutrient management and plant seven times as many acres of forest and grass buffers as it did last year to help it get back on track to meet Chesapeake Bay nutrient reduction targets, but it lacks programs or policies to achieve either, according to an EPA review released Thursday.

The review also cast doubt on whether the state could ever meet its pollution reduction goals for urban stormwater.

Those points illustrate how far off track the watershed’s largest contributor of nutrient and sediment pollution is from meeting its goals. The EPA review warned Pennsylvania that if it does not ramp up efforts, the agency could take actions such as requiring greater pollution reductions from wastewater treatment plants — something that would be hugely expensive in Pennsylvania where plants tend to be smaller and more costly to upgrade.

While other states have issues, the annual review of state programs shows the greatest concerns are clearly in Pennsylvania. In the next three years, that state would have to reduce nitrogen loads almost four times as much as the rest of the watershed states combined to meet the goals set for the end of 2017.

“The situation with Pennsylvania is obviously what we are focused on right now,” said Nick DiPasquale, director of the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program Office.

Reflecting that concern, the EPA last month warned in a letter to Pennsylvania officials that they needed to use the $6 million to $8 million in annual Bay-related EPA grants to fix problems and accelerate progress, or the agency would consider bypassing state agencies and give that money to others working on Bay issues in the state.

The six-page letter outlined numerous actions the state should take to improve compliance with agricultural regulatory programs, accelerate implementation of “high priority” runoff control practices, and improve its stormwater programs.
Other articles:

The Pittsburgh (Pa.) Post-Gazette - Pennsylvania lags behind in Chesapeake cleanup

The (Boulder, Colo,) Public News Service - EPA PA Falling Far Behind Bay Waterways Cleanup Plan

ABC 2 (Baltimore, Md.) TV - Chesapeake Bay recovery update: Good news, bad news

B'More Green - Maryland mostly on course with Bay cleanup, but not Pennsylvania, EPA says

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