MANHEIM, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Last Thursday, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Thursday approved Pennsylvania’s 2012 final list of impaired waters without listing the lower Susquehanna River as impaired. The report was a disappointment to the many significant stakeholders that had petitioned for this 100-mile stretch of river to be listed as impaired due to persistent disease and die-offs in smallmouth bass population.
Excessive nutrient loading is the single biggest water quality and cost issue affecting the Susquehanna watershed and the Chesapeake Bay today. The most cost-effective, reasonable nutrient solution that remains is a statewide, voluntary, competitively bid nutrient procurement program. Such a program, supported by the Coalition for an Affordable Bay Solution (CABS), dramatically reduces the cost of compliance with existing Chesapeake Bay nutrient mandates while enhancing the Susquehanna watershed and its tributaries.
In fact, the CABS program will enable private sector agriculture to provide large-scale nutrient reductions to the Susquehanna watershed and cost effectively meet the Chesapeake Bay nutrient compliance mandate.
For example: When the CABS program is implemented, two existing private sector agricultural projects can improve water quality for the Susquehanna watershed by approximately 10 million pounds of verified nitrogen and 2 million pounds of verified phosphorous reductions.
These initial cost effective projects can be completed within 18 months if funding to purchase the Chesapeake Bay portion (less than 25% overall) of the total verified reductions from these projects is available. The Susquehanna watershed verified nutrient reductions (75% of the total project) would be provided at zero cost since they are a by-product of generating Chesapeake Bay verified nutrient reduction credits.
The Chesapeake Bay verified nutrient reduction credits would cost the taxpayer up to 80% less than existing alternatives, according to a January 2013 Pennsylvania Legislative & Budget Finance Committee Report.
In summary, CABS believes the Susquehanna watershed, its habitat, the Chesapeake Bay, and the associated recreational water activities as well as the taxpayer’s interest would be best served by implementing a statewide, voluntary, competitively bid nutrient procurement program.
For more information on Coalition for an Affordable Bay Solution, as well as a list of founding members and supporters, please visit www.AffordableBaySolutions.org. For more information about CBF, please visit www.cbf.org.