Monday, December 10, 2018

Can Pennsylvania Meet Its Bay Diet Goals?

A state senator cast doubt this week on Pennsylvania’s ability to meet its pollution targets for the Chesapeake Bay watershed, but government and nonprofit leaders remain enthusiastic about the cause. “We know we’re going to fall short of our 2025 goals, especially in agriculture,” Sen. Rich Alloway, R-Chambersburg, said Monday at an announcement of grant funding for water-quality projects.

It’s no secret that Pennsylvania is far behind on its pollution goals and has been for several years. But with half a decade left in the cleanup program, it’s highly unusual for an official to publicly concede that the state will fall short.

Leaders generally praise farmers for the work they’ve done while acknowledging that more is necessary. Agriculture is the largest source of pollution in the bay watershed.

After the grant presentation, several officials pushed back on Alloway’s remark. Cosmo Servidio, the Environmental Protection Agency’s administrator for the Mid-Atlantic region, said he’s “absolutely not” giving up on the cleanup. “Collectively the partnership is 100 percent behind 2025, and EPA will continue to be as supportive as we have been in that goal,” Servidio said.

The agency provided $10 million of the $13 million in grant money that the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation awarded at Monday’s ceremony.

State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, said despairing about meeting the targets won’t help matters, but people do need to see enough progress that they feel the end is in sight.
Frankly, Pennsylvania has very little incentive to meet the goals assigned to it by EPA. The state has no shoreline on the Bay, and thus is not, as they say, a "shareholder." They get a bill, and very little benefit. Any attempt to make them come into compliance must recognize that fact, and try to compensate them for the hit their farmers will have to take for the "team".

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