George Asks Feds to Follow Through on Water-Funding Commitments

HARRISBURG – State Rep. Camille “Bud” George, majority chair of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, said the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee unanimously agreed to pursue promised federal funding for the Susquehanna, Delaware and Potomac river basin commissions.

“Responsible government does not mean making promises and then reneging on funding,” said George, D-74, Houtzdale. “The federal government has been talking tall but delivering zilch to protect water resources in Pennsylvania and throughout the mid-Atlantic region.”

George’s House Resolution 719 now moves to the full House for consideration.

“The federal government has provided no direct funding for the last decade to the three basin commissions – known as Mid-Atlantic Commissions – even though it promised its fair share of funding when it helped to create these interstate compacts,” George said. “Congress also required funding when it enacted the Water Resources Development Act of 2007.”

George said the mid-Atlantic region has seen the promises and mandates but not the money.

“Pennsylvania is facing expensive water-quality mandates from the federal government,” George said. “Yet, President Bush did not even request funding in the 2009 budget to fulfill the federal government’s commitment.”

The Susquehanna, Delaware and Potomac river basin commissions are seeking $1 million to establish flow targets so major withdrawals from the Susquehanna River can be better managed, $715,000 for flood mitigation along the Delaware, and $650,000 to protect drinking water resources in the Potomac basin.

HR 719 asks Congress, the president and other federal officials to honor the funding requests. It also asks the other member states of the Mid-Atlantic Commissions – New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, New York, Virginia and West Virginia – to approve similar legislation seeking the promised funding.

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