(HARRISBURG, PA)—Matthew Ehrhart, Executive Director of Chesapeake Bay Foundation's (CBF) Pennsylvania office, released this statement after completing a preliminary review of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's (PA DEP) Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP).
"The EPA's Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirements compel all Bay states to do even more to protect our streams, rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay from intensive nutrient pollution.
"An essential part of the TMDL process is the development of state WIPs. The purpose of the WIPs is to detail how the Commonwealth intends to meet pollution-reduction goals and improve water quality in local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay. Earlier this month Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia submitted their initial drafts to EPA. We have briefly reviewed the draft PA WIP and will be conducting a more through assessment. We plan to offer more thorough and detailed comments during the public comment period.
"Rather than providing a tangible roadmap on how to achieve goals necessary to restore clean water in Pennsylvania and the Bay, it is our conclusion that the draft WIP is largely a summary of programs and initiatives that already exist. The plan does not clearly articulate the strategy, programs, resources, and timing to be employed to meet the obligations of the TMDL and provide reasonable assurance that our goals will be met.
"Pennsylvania and the other Bay states must meet federal water quality clean standards. These requirements have been in place for nearly 40 years through the Federal Clean Water Act, yet they have been widely ignored or under-enforced. CBF looks to the Commonwealth to provide specific steps to meet the TMDL, and to establish expectations and compliance mechanisms for all sectors to effectively reduce pollution.
"The responsibility of cleaning up our water does not rest solely on the shoulders of any one source—everyone must do their share—equitably. It is up to us to create and implement the plan to fix the problem. And unlike past initiatives, EPA has laid out consequences that we will face if we fail to deliver that plan."