EPA Calls on Pennsylvania to Accelerate Clean-up at Chesapeake Bay

Pennsylvania was the only state to be issued the warning from the US Environmental Protection Agency.

chesapeake-bay

Stretching more than 200 miles from Havre de Grace, Maryland to Virginia Beach, Virginia, the Chesapeake Bay is the third largest estuary in the world–and the largest in the United States.

It should come as no surprise, then, that research conducted by the University of Alabama estimates that ever since the 19th century, the Bay’s water quality has increasingly become impacted by animal and human waste. While Chesapeake Bay is home to more than 3,600 species of plants and animals– and supports roughly 18 million people with an estimated $1 trillion of economic activity–the rising threat of Bay-related pollution is imminent.

As such, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a letter on April 27, 2017 to Pennsylvania, calling for the state to speed up the process of looking after pollution control. Pennsylvania delivers more nitrogen than any other state into the Bay.  As it stands,  the EPA alleges that Pennsylvania is only 10 percent of the way towards its 2025 nitrogen goal. In order to meet those goals, the EPA states Pennsylvania will need to reduce its nitrogen pollution by roughly 4 million pounds per year.

“Given the serious deficits in attaining load reductions in the Agricultural and Urban/Suburban Stormwater sectors, EPA commits to continue working with Pennsylvania in the development of Pennsylvania’s Phase III WIPP so as to provide technical assistance and feedback along the way,” the letter reads.

The EPA letter continues, stating it will review the details of the state’s draft Phase III WIP next year “to assess the adequacy of the programs and policies,” so that the Commonwealth will meet its 2025 Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) goals.

In brief, some of the objectives include: local planning goals, demonstrated collaboration, documentation of programmatic, policy, legislative and regulatory changes, demonstration of the level of the staff, partnerships and financial resources needed. The last part in particular highlights that “significant cost savings” can be met through “common-sense and innovated approaches.”

While the Chesapeake Bay spans across several other states, Pennsylvania was the only state the letter was issued to. As the Bay Journal notes, the other states surrounding the Bay are on pace to meet their required pollution reductions. That said, they also now have to finish their plans by 2018 that show how they will “restore a healthy Bay” by 2025. 

All that being said, there are, in fact, cleantech companies out there putting in best efforts to help Pennsylvania get on track with its Chesapeake Bay obligations.

One company in particular is Bion Environmental Technologies (OTCQB:BNET), who describes its mission as “to provide sustainable environmental and economic solutions to the food and livestock industry and investment returns to its shareholders.”

In a 2016 interview with the Investing News Network (INN) Craig Scott, director of communications of Bion said, “competitive bidding will allow companies like Bion to provide large-scale high-impact projects that will help get Pennsylvania back on track with its Chesapeake Bay obligations.”

“Pennsylvania is just one state out of more than 35 in the nation that suffer from this same environmental problem,” Scott continued.

Now that additional developments have been made in pushing the state to speed up its pollution reduction, Scott recently reiterated with INN that Bion has had a “technology that will solve this problem for years.”

For example, a 2011 press release stated that the company uncovered technologies that would protect the Bay’s water supply, which included a micro-aerobic digestion technology that provides on-site nutrient treatment at livestock farm “before they ever have an opportunity to flow into local streams and watersheds.”

In 2015, Yahoo! also reported on Bion looking to clean up the Bay, highlighting that the company targets livestock waste with its solutions, and “represents an un-tapped reservoir of large-scale reductions at dramatically lower cost than traditional high-cost infrastructure projects” that have typically commanded clean water strategies.”

With the Chesapeake Executive Council signing a resolution asking for federal support to clean up the Bay–which comes after President Donald Trump slashing the funding in his budget proposal–many private companies will likely benefit from reduced federal funding, Scott said.

Scott continued, saying that a number of states will look to make spending decisions with “more of an eye-to-cost-effectiveness,” highlighting that many stakeholders at the Pennsylvania Joint Senate Committee brought that up at a hearing in 2016.

“This has never been an opportunity for the private sector before–EPA essentially signalling their approval for a whole new space.” he added.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Technology for real-time news updates!

This is an update to an article originally published in 2016.

Securities Disclosure: I, Jocelyn, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: Bion Environmental Technologies is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.

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