Protecting Trees for Clean Water
Pennsylvania’s legislature passed and
Governor Corbett signed a bill that left
many Pennsylvanians bewildered. And, it’s
not just the clean-water advocates and
environmentalists who are upset.
On Wednesday, October 22, Governor
Tom Corbett signed into law H.B. 1565,
known as the anti-buffer bill. This new law,
backed by the development lobby will
most certainly degrade the Keystone State’s
most pristine streams.
Maintaining or planting trees along streams
is one of the least-expensive and most-effective ways to reduce pollution. These
buffers protect streams from runoff and
erosion, improve water quality, and provide habitat for critters, like brook trout,
living in the streams.
But the anti-buffer bill gives developers the
right to cut down existing buffers, without
the requirement to plant new ones or offset
loss. This legislation reduces Pennsylvania’s
ability to meet its commitments under the
Chesapeake Bay Agreement and the
Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, which
Corbett signed in August.
The Bay Agreement and Pennsylvania’s
obligations under the Clean Water
Blueprint rely heavily on protecting and
restoring forested stream buffers. The
Commonwealth should be taking steps to
encourage more stream buffers in more
areas, not significantly weaken the requirements for planting and protecting them.
Throughout the Commonwealth, people
have been doing their part to plant more
trees. Thousands of farmers, developers,
local groups, governments, and businesses
have invested their time and money into
Hundreds of local governments in
Pennsylvania have passed ordinances to
preserve existing buffers. And, thousands
of farmers and homeowners have planted
new buffers with the help of the state and
local governments, watershed groups,
citizen volunteers, and CBF’s Susquehanna
Watershed Restoration Program. This
bill undermines decades of efforts by
these stakeholders to preserve and
CBF’s Pennsylvania office did not sit qui-
etly throughout the legislative process. We
led a very active lobbying effort and social
and news media campaign to educate the
public and engage our network of action-
takers. This statewide group of clean-water
advocates joined us in writing letters to
their representatives and senators, and on
Monday, October 20, over 100 responded
to our urgent message to call the governor’s
office. We’d like to thank everyone who
took action for clean water and opposed
the buffer bill.
What happens next? Our team will be
advocating the Department of Environmental Protection to develop a scientifically rigorous set of standards for the new
law, among other options. We will also provide updates of our startegy on our website
and social media outlets.
uFor more information on other happenings
in Pennsylvania visit cbf.org/Pennsylvania.
We should be encouraging
more stream buffers, not
weakening the requirements.
more streamside trees
because they: ; reduce pollution,
; manage floods, and
; protect brook trout and other aquatic life.
H.B. 1565 would allow developers to cut down existing trees along our most pristine streams.
Undoing years of progress
doesn’t make sense!
CBF urges Governor Corbett to VETO H.B. 1565
and to protect clean water and property values in the Keystone State!