With so much talk about the possible creation of Growing Greener III and the need for Pennsylvania to do its part in cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay, lawmakers have a perfect opportunity to do both at a significant discount.
Manure treatment technology directly prevents phosphorous and nitrogen, including airborne ammonia, from reaching the bay — key goals for Growing Greener III. Lawmakers have put a $315 million annual price tag on Growing Greener. Not only would that cost be virtually wiped out, but the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee projects credits from onsite manure treatment will cost Pennsylvania 80 percent less than the billions the commonwealth is spending on bay compliance.
Considering Pennsylvania has spent $4 billion to clean up the bay with little to show for it, it’s time to put private sector cost-effective measures to work. A proposed regional project at Kreider Farms in Lancaster is offering to sell nitrogen and phosphorous credits produced from treatment to help meet the bay mandate.
As a byproduct of these treatment technologies, large-scale Growing Greener III benefits, such as water treatment and reuse, reductions of nitrogen and phosphorous to the local freshwater resources, renewable natural gas and hundreds of thousands of tons of greenhouse gas reductions would be generated at zero additional cost to the taxpayer.
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Pennsylvania needs to adopt legislation that would implement the LBFC study recommendations. By doing so, lawmakers will achieve some of the goals of Growing Greener III without asking taxpayers to foot the bill.
Mike McCloskey and Dominic Bassani
The writers represent the Coalition for Affordable Bay Solutions, Harrisburg.