EPA Tells Pa. to Cleanup Chesapeake Bay, or Else…
By Karl Blankenship, Chesapeake Bay Journal
Pennsylvania needs a realistic plan showing how it will provide enough funding and staff to dramatically ramp up its Chesapeake Bay pollution control efforts, or it could face a variety of potentially costly federal actions within the next two years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warned state officials in a recent letter.
Pennsylvania was the only state to get such a warning, and it illustrates mounting concern that if the Keystone state cannot get its nutrient control program on track, it will prevent much of the Chesapeake Bay from attaining its clean water goals. Pennsylvania delivers more nitrogen to the Bay than any other state.
While most other states are generally on track to meet their required pollution reductions, Pennsylvania faces “serious deficits,” the EPA letter said, especially when it comes to controlling nitrogen from farm fields and stormwater from developed areas.
Federal and state officials now generally acknowledge that Pennsylvania never had a viable plan to reach its goals, as plans written in 2010 and 2011 hinged on unrealistic assumptions, such as taking huge swaths of agricultural land out of production.
All of the states in the watershed have to complete new plans next year to show how they expect to have all of the measures in place needed to restore a healthy Bay — such as planting forest buffers, building stormwater controls and upgrading wastewater treatment plants — by 2025.