April 8, 2021

Underfunded and Polluted: Solutions to Fund Clean Water in Pennsylvania and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

On April 8, 2021, PennFuture released a report designed to get Pennsylvania back on track toward funding clean water goals here at home, but also in the Chesapeake Bay. This report describes the pollution problems Pennsylvania faces in the Susquehanna and Potomac River basins and explores the history of restoration efforts.

Pennsylvania’s role in Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts began in earnest 38 years ago when Governor Dick Thornburgh participated as a signatory to the first multistate Chesapeake Bay Agreement. While some progress has been made since that agreement in 1983, many obstacles still remain. Most persistent is the need for more state funding to achieve $521 million in annual projects to cut water pollution in Pennsylvania’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed—a goal state policymakers chronically miss by at least $325 million a year, and oftentimes more.

Specifically, the report puts forth a legislative agenda that achieves the $521 million funding need as well as meets the Commonwealth’s Chesapeake Bay TMDL goals. The policy recommendations made in this report fall under six categories:

  • Funding for State Agency and Technical Assistance Staffing
  • Policies to Reduce Nutrient Pollution from the Agriculture Sector
  • Policies to Reduce Pollution from Stormwater Runoff
  • Policies to Reduce Nutrient Pollution from Forestry-related Practices
  • Funding Pilot County Practices
  • Funding the Remaining Reductions in the Wastewater Sector

To read our report, please click here.