EPA Calls Out Pennsylvania Bay Restoration Efforts, Acknowledges Funding Challenges

A PA Environment Digest article (2016-05-26) reported that United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy recently criticized Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts but also acknowledged that the state needed funding assistance from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Pennsylvania has consistently lagged behind other bay watershed states in its restoration efforts and a large share of its pollution comes from agriculture. The article stated that the Chesapeake Bay Commission and other environmental groups have charged that the USDA is not adequately funding conservation practices in the state. From the article:

Pennsylvania’s lack of progress is “discouraging at the very least,” McCarthy told hundreds of environmental activists, government officials and foundation leaders attending the Choose Clean Water Coalition conference in Annapolis.

“I need to talk to the USDA as well,” she added, to applause, “because there is work that needs to be done.”  …

McCarthy’s comments about the USDA were “what we needed to hear,” said [Chesapeake Bay Foundation] Maryland Director Alison Prost. All the good intentions, Prost added, won’t help Pennsylvania do its part if the state doesn’t receive enough money to put the right programs in place.

McCarthy said EPA resources are “fairly minimal,” and Prost said that’s especially true given USDA’s vast resources.

Chesapeake Bay Program Director Nicholas DiPasquale reiterated previous findings that Pennsylvania will likely influence whether the states directly adjacent to the Bay meet or fail to attain their 2017 water pollution reduction targets.

“I’m going to say this as clearly as I can. If Pennsylvania does not succeed, we’re not going to succeed. It’s as simple as that,” he said.

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