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Yaw speaks to Chesapeake Bay cleanup issue

State Sen. Gene Yaw, R-Loyalsock Township, said cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay does not resonate well with everyone in his constituency, but every effort is being made to meet government mandates.

“We acknowledge the problem and we are trying,” he said.

Yaw, recently elected chairman of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, acknowledged that the state will likely fail to meet mandates by 2025 for successfully reducing nutrient pollution into streams that impact the Bay.

The Susquehanna River, which flows through much of Yaw’s 23 Senatorial District, comprises 50 percent of the Bay’s freshwater.

But the excess levels of nitrogen and phosphorous reaching the Bay are carried by streams and water runoffs below Interstate 80, with many of the pollutants coming from farm operations in Lancaster County.

Yaw noted that government officials of the northern reaches of his district such as Bradford County question why they must take the necessary steps to comply with the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan.

The Chesapeake Bay Commission is comprised of government officials and private citizens from Pennsylvania, as well as Maryland and Virginia.

Members don’t always agree on everything regarding cleanup efforts, but the feeling among members is overall collegial, he said.

In addition, he termed the Commission’s relationship with the U.S. Federal Environmental Protection Agency as “really good.”

Funding cleanup efforts remains a tough hurdle, but he’s hopeful that federal funding can be freed up to help with the problem.

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