The reboot is
hope for restoring
clean water to the
Pennsylvania’s New Strategy
Three members of the Pennsylvania Cabinet
stood on the windy knoll of a Lancaster
County farm on a frigid, wintry day, and
unveiled the state’s newest plan to light a fire
under the Commonwealth’s efforts to get
pollution reduction back on track.
Pennsylvania’s long-awaited “reboot,” released in January and developed by the
Departments of Environmental Protection
(DEP), Conservation and Natural Resources
(DCNR), and Agriculture, will be a turning
point for the Commonwealth’s efforts to
reduce nutrient and sediment pollution
from agriculture and urban polluted runoff,
which is off-track by millions of pounds.
But only if it is implemented.
Pennsylvania provides half of the freshwater
flowing into the Bay. Agriculture is the leading source of pollution to Commonwealth
rivers and streams. Secretary of Agriculture
Russell Redding has said that farmers in
Pennsylvania want to do the right thing to
restore and maintain water quality, and agriculture figures prominently in the solutions
outlined in new plan to clean up waterways.
While the new strategy establishes a frame-
work for success, lack of funding is the core
obstacle to getting Pennsylvania back on
track to meet its 2017 and 2025 Clean Water
Governor Tom Wolf released his proposed
budget for 2016 to 2017 less than a month
after the reboot was announced, and CBF
believes that it lacks the critical resources
to implement the plan successfully. The
proposal came in the midst of a nine-month
stalemate where the Commonwealth did not
have a state budget for 2015 to 2016.
Department of Environmental Protection
Secretary John Quigley said his office alone
cannot restore and protect clean water as
called for in the reboot because of severe
funding cuts. He also acknowledged that the
state will not meet its 2017 clean-water goals.
Since 2002, DEP has seen its staff reduced
by 22 percent—over 700 positions—due to
funding cuts. About $2 billion in environ-ment-related funding has been diverted from
DEP and the DCNR to other uses in order to
balance the state budget.
The reboot calls for a significant increase in
inspections of the more than 33,000 farms
within the Chesapeake Bay watershed in
Pennsylvania. But DEP estimates that, at
current staffing levels, it would take almost
57 years for each farm to be inspected just
once. DEP inspected less than two percent
of farms in 2014. In order to meet EPA’s
annual recommended 10 percent inspection rate, DEP intends to shift funding from
agricultural education to inspections within
conservation districts and utilize staff
and conservation district staff.
DEP, with DCNR guidance, will also accelerate buffer plantings—the most affordable
and one of the most effective solutions for
filtering and reducing the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution
from entering our local streams.
Farmers will also play a role in the reboot
by reporting their own voluntary conservation practices, allowing these pollution-re-duction measures to be accounted for.
The people of Pennsylvania need, deserve,
and have a right to clean water. With a
focus on agriculture, adequate funding and
technical assistance are key to success of
the new plan that can restore and protect it.
Advisory Council Formed
This year, CBF’s Pennsylvania office is celebrating 30 years of restoring and saving
the Commonwealth’s rivers and streams.
The office recently assembled an Advisory
Council, consisting of former state legislators, a former state department secretary,
physicians, and CBF trustees who will meet
quarterly in order to provide insight to help
address our future challenges.
CBF’s Pennsylvania Executive Director
Harry Campbell said council input can
strengthen our efforts in the Commonwealth
to more effectively and efficiently assist
in the implementation of the Clean
U To learn more about CBF’s clean-water efforts
in Pennsylvania, visit cbf.org/Pennsylvania.
On a cold January day Secretaries Redding, Quigley, and Dunn announced a new plan, or reboot,
to help clean up Pennsylvania’s waterways and meet the Clean Water Blueprint.