SB799 PetitionRead the petition
After spending billions of dollars over several decades, Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay program continues to be in default. Lancaster, York and other counties have seen their public water sources deteriorate to the point that they now fail to meet federal drinking water standards for nitrogen. As a result, this is no longer just a “clean up the Bay” issue; it’s a safe drinking water issue.
Elevated concentrations of nitrogen in drinking water can lead to thyroid cancer and various birth defects. That’s why municipalities in Lancaster, York and throughout the Commonwealth are spending millions to treat their water before they can even drink it. HALF of Lancaster County’s public water sources and 40 MORE in York County do not meet federal drinking water standards.
Unfortunately, under Pennsylvania’s existing program the drinking water crisis will only get worse – and it comes with a heavy price tag. The projected cost of the Wolf administration’s Bay program is as much as $20 billion. We can do better – and we can clean up our drinking water supply.
A 2013 study by the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget & Finance Committee found that using a competitively bid procurement program can help clean up our water – and save taxpayers up to an AMAZING 80 percent! That’s right! 80 percent!
That study is the basis of legislation currently in the Pennsylvania State Senate – Senate Bill 799.This legislation will toss out the old, wasteful program that has defaulted on our Bay commitments and hurt our drinking water. It will replace it with a transparent, accountable, competitively bid procurement program. Nationally, procurement programs are the gold standard used by government at all levels to provide transparency, accountability and in preventing fraud, waste and abuse. Violations carry civil and criminal penalties for those who abuse the public trust.
If Senate Bill 799 had been in place, municipalities like Danville, Montour County could’ve avoided upgrading their treatment facilities that led to a horrific 300 percent increase in sewer and water rates for residents and businesses.
That 300 percent increase is just a sample of what’s taking place in municipalities across the watershed – and plenty of people are getting rich from facility upgrades at the expense of hardworking families and businesses.
Unfortunately, deep-pocketed special interests won’t go down without a fight. Right now, they’re trying to amend Senate Bill 799 to make participation in a competitively bid procurement program optional.
Such attempts to mislead the public must be rejected. The residents of Lancaster, York and other counties in the Susquehanna Watershed are entitled to know who opposes a cost effective Bay solution that will make their drinking water safe.
We need Senate Bill 799 to be signed into law because the system will not reform itself. Having healthy drinking water is not a Democrat or Republican issue.
That is why we call on all state legislators and Gov. Wolf to vote in favor of Senate Bill 799 as its written!
Our health and fresh water should never be an issue in Pennsylvania – and it shouldn’t come at a cost that hurts our working families and small businesses.