Pennsylvania is moving ahead with ways to reduce pollution tied to climate change and cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay even as the Trump administration takes steps to end both programs.
A proposed budget by the federal Environmental Protection Agency would end federal assistance for the Chesapeake Bay cleanup.
The budget proposal also would slash $165 million from nonpoint source pollution, a program that has been used to provide financial assistance to farmers in Lancaster County and Pennsylvania so they can make on-the-farm improvements to prevent soil and manure runoff.
Elimination of the program could ease pressure on Lancaster and Pennsylvania farmers.
But the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced Friday that it would continue to develop the next phase of its watershed implementation plan to step up reductions in nutrients and sediment coming from counties that drain into the Chesapeake Bay.
More and more, the bay cleanup in Pennsylvania is being framed as touting the economic and health benefits to local Pennsylvania communities from cleaning local waterways.
“Simply put, clean water is great for Pennsylvania and good for the bay,” acting DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell said in announcing a steering committee meeting for Monday.
McDonnell was outspoken last week in reacting to President Donald Trump’s executive order rolling back President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, a sweeping climate change action that would have required each state to reduce air pollution from power plants and industries.
McDonnell called the Trump action “disappointing” and said Pennsylvania is already suffering from the effects of climate change.
“The changing climate is the most significant environmental threat facing the world, and emissions from the United States are a significant cause,” McDonnell said in a statement.
“Pennsylvania is already seeing the effects of climate change on our economy and our environment as higher monthly average temperatures, more extreme storm events, and other signs of climate change are already being observed in the state.”
McDonnell said Pennsylvania would continue to pursue ways to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change.
In announcing a plan to lay off 25 percent of its employees and scrap 56 programs, the EPA has said it wants to focus on “core responsibilities” and turn more responsibility and enforcement of environmental matters to the states.
That has drawn applause from business groups and some legislators.
Congress is likely to restore at least some of the cuts proposed in the EPA budget, analysts say.