According to Lancaster Online‘s Ad Crable there is a policy shift going on in Pennsylvania.
Lancaster County farmers and residents will have a new taskmaster as the state tries a significantly different approach to make up ground to remove nutrients and sediment polluting the Chesapeake Bay.
The state will now rely on private and public sector leaders in Lancaster County itself, hoping for a more cooperative approach to vastly step up removal of the pollutants.
Farm-related runoff of manure, fertilizer and soil, as well as trying to capture stormwater, will be the focal points for the new initiative.
Is this new “localism” a good idea?
The new approach that Lancaster County is taking in order to finally get a cooperative approach to move pollutants in the Chesapeake Bay will hopefully be successful. PA is the source of more than half of the fresh water that leads into the bay however they have struggled since 1985 to meet the standards of reducing nutrients from agriculture from the water. With this being said, I believe that this new idea of localism is a great approach to tackle this ongoing problem. They will still have government funding to go toward the removal of the pollutants and hopefully a stronger voice in getting the process done. If this approach does deem to be successful then I would hope other local counties take the same initiative to fix problems that have been pressing on the environment and simply ignored.
This idea of localism is a good approach to the problem. Local governments have a more invested reason in keeping their area clean. By allowing more autonomy hopefully it will allow for a simpler solution. The state will of course still need to watch over to make sure that the initiative is working, but now that state isn’t directly involved. Lancaster county will hopefully be able to focus more on solutions that work. Of course, the cooperation with the private sector may cause some problems depending on the situation, and their willingness to cooperate. Overall, the state has made a big step in allowing environmental issues to be handled by those they most closely affect.
I believe this approach of localism could be a successful solution to this problem. Typically, local level government’s responsibilities include parks and recreation services, fire departments, transportation, and several other general public services. I believe it would work best to cleanup the parks on a local level. The Chesapeake Bay Network is not a single national park and is made up of over 160 public and privately owned parks spread over several states. The state governments are dealing with many other issues with higher priorities so giving this responsibility to the county is a smart move.
This approach of localism should yield better results in cleaning up local streams that drain into the Chesapeake Bay. Relying mostly on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania would not be as effective, especially considering that the state has many issues of paramount importance that would easily eclipse the issue of cleaning up agriculture-related sediment from streams and rivers. Because Pennsylvania, and Lancaster County in particular, is the primary source of streamflow into the Chesapeake Bay, there is an even larger incentive to attempt a localized practice to address sediment pollution.