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PennFuture and clean water advocates from across Pennsylvania teamed up on March 6 for the annual Choose Clean Water Coalition (CCWC) Chesapeake Bay Day on the Hill.
Our mission was to advocate for increased funding for vital legislation that would improve water quality across the Bay watershed. Federal programs, such as the Chesapeake Small Watershed Grants (SWG) and the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), provide critical financial resources that help local governments and farmers reduce pollution flowing into our waterways. At the Capitol, we asked our congressional representatives to ensure that local governments receive the funds they need to meet pollution reduction goals by: increasing Chesapeake Bay Program Funding, substantially increasing funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF), and fully funding the conservation programs in the Farm Bill in fiscal year 2020.
Chesapeake Bay Program grants such as the SWG and the Innovative Nutrient Sediment Reduction Grants (INSR) provide critical on-the-ground restoration at the local level. By increasing funding levels the Bay Program receives, additional resources can be allocated toward local communities and non-profit organizations to improve local water quality. These additional funds are necessary for Pennsylvania to meet its 2025 Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirement, which is a pollution limit all states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed must meet.
Additionally, we asked our Congressional delegation to substantially increase funding for the SRF, and include it in any future Federal Infrastructure Spending Plan. The Clean Water SRF is an essential piece of funding that provides low interest loans to local governments for clean water infrastructure projects to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution for wastewater treatment and stormwater facilities, and nonpoint sources of pollution such as farms and developments.
Finally, the CCWC team asked for support to fully fund the conservation programs in the Farm Bill in fiscal year 2020. You can read more about PennFuture’s recap on the Farm Bill by checking out our blog from December titled, “ Final Farm Bill Signed into Law Marks Big Win for Conservation”.
Among the many decision makers who represent districts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, we met with Pennsylvania Representatives Lloyd Smucker, John Joyce, Scott Perry, Glenn “G.T.” Thompson, and Matt Cartwright and their staffs, each of whom carefully listened to our concerns. Finally, we also had the honor of meeting with Senator Bob Casey, who introduced legislation that became the CREP section of the Farm Bill, which will help farmers and landowners install more riparian forest buffers and maintain them.