Pennsylvania is a water-rich state with 86,000 miles of rivers and streams. We all benefit from access to clean water, and it’s our shared responsibility to ensure it’s available for current and future generations.
Pennsylvanians have a constitutional right to clean water. However, with one-third of our waterways suffering from too much pollution, the promise of clean water doesn’t exist for everyone. In the Susquehanna and Potomac river basins alone, where more than 15,000 miles of streams are polluted, Pennsylvania is required to reduce 34 million pounds of nitrogen and 756,000 pounds of phosphorus by 2025.
Healthy waterways are not a partisan issue. They are an important part of our economy, public health, and communities. Investing in our water resources will in turn support job growth, fuel our state’s vibrant recreation economy, and enhance our water supplies.
Properly funding clean water initiatives isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.
In the Susquehanna and Potomac watersheds alone, cleaning up our rivers and streams is estimated to cost $521 million annually. The General Assembly consistently fails to provide adequate funding and the health of our waterways continues to decline.
However, the path forward is known. In April 2021, PennFuture published a report, “Underfunded and Polluted: Solutions to Fund Clean Water in Pennsylvania and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed” that puts forth a legislative agenda that, if acted upon, would provide the technical assistance, agency support, and public investments needed to put Pennsylvania on the path toward meeting our clean water goals.
We, the undersigned, call on Pennsylvania's legislators to take seriously their duty to uphold our rights to clean water and good health, as well as strongly support Pennsylvania’s recreation businesses and farmers by properly funding clean water. We call on the General Assembly to act now to provide the necessary funding to address our local water pollution and Pennsylvania’s significant contribution to the health of the Chesapeake Bay.