(Posted by Michael R Helfrich.)
Good luck, Chesapeake Bay. The new Pennsylvania governor has no interest in protecting Pennsylvania’s resources and environment, let alone the Chesapeake Bay. With the additional proposed cuts by Gov. Tom Corbett (R), Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protect (DEP) budget will be 59 percent lower than it was under Republican Gov. Tom Ridge ten years ago.
We have been assured that environmental regulations will not stand in the way of industrial progress. Gov. Corbett recently appointed Alan Walker, a coal company executive, as the head of the Department of Community and Economic Development. In a brief paragraph in his new budget, Gov. Corbett gave Walker the authority to “expedite any permit or action pending in any agency where the creation of jobs may be impacted.” Get it? He gave him the authority to override the Department of Environmental Protection!
Did you expect that there would be any oversight of the great scheme to use nutrient trading to pay farmers to reduce their pollution? Without oversight by Pennsylvania DEP we will have no assurances that actual pollution reductions are being made. Did you expect enforcement on polluting construction sites? There are efforts in the Pennsylvania legislature to exempt gas drilling companies and their proposed 50,000-90,000 wells from erosion control regulations. Did you expect protection from foreign corporations externalizing their costs of profit onto Pennsylvanians and the Chesapeake Bay? Two of the top three Marcellus Shale drilling companies are foreign-owned, and the number two company, Chesapeake Appalachia, is based in Oklahoma. They take the profits out of the Chesapeake watershed and leave us with generations of polluted waters and denuded and fragmented forests that are just starting to recover from the 19th and 20th century coal mining industry.
Did you expect protection? Corbett’s DEP=Don’t Expect Protection!
The Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper and its supporting organization, Stewards of the Lower Susquehanna, will continue to fight to reduce pollution and move us closer to a healthy Susquehanna and Chesapeake Bay, but it’s time that Chesapeake Bay advocates face facts: You don’t have a friend in Pennsylvania, at least not in the Governor’s mansion.