August 16, 2022

Environmental and Watershed Groups, Citing Harms to Exceptional Value Stream, Appeal Stormwater Permit for Proposed Swiftwater Solar Project in Pocono Township

“PennFuture and Brodhead Watershed Association appealed the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System stormwater erosion and sediment control permit approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for the proposed Swiftwater Solar development in Pocono Township, Monroe County,” said Abigail M. Jones, PennFuture’s Vice President of Legal and Policy. “Our decision to appeal this permit is based on the fact that the Swiftwater Solar project will, as proposed, destroy 470 acres of mature woodlands – over 73% of the site – at the top of Bear Mountain, forever changing the landscape and the ability of the property to protect the health of the adjacent special protection waters: Swiftwater Creek, Dry Sawmill Run, and Scot Run.

Our groups support renewable energy and a rapid transition to a clean energy economy in Pennsylvania, but not at the expense of those waters that are recognized as being the cleanest, most pristine waters in the Commonwealth. And the law is clear, the water quality of Exceptional Value streams - like Swiftwater Creek - cannot be degraded. No exceptions. To allow this project to go forward would result in the degradation of three special protection waters, including a rare Exceptional Value stream, in violation of PA’s water quality regulations. The siting, design, and massive amounts of construction and clearcutting involved for this particular solar installation is unfortunately so harmful to the local waters that we cannot support it. Our groups have taken the necessary step of challenging the approval of this project to protect creeks that we have fought for decades to preserve. 

The specific details of our challenge to the final stormwater permit can be found in our Notice of Appeal filed with the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board.”


PennFuture is Pennsylvania’s leading environmental advocacy organization with offices in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Erie and Mt. Pocono. We are protecting our air, water and land, and empowering citizens to build sustainable communities for future generations.

The Brodhead Watershed Association (BWA) is dedicated to protecting and improving water resources and the environment in the Brodhead and Cherry creek watersheds. The BWA assists municipalities, residents, businesses and groups with protecting natural resources through outreach, workshops, public programs, stream monitoring and baseline data collection.


Ben Block

Interim Director, Communications