About our water issues committee

Getting our feet wet

Courtesy morguefile


The Water Issues Committee is co-chaired by Thomas Au and Barbara Benson. The rest of the committee is comprised of water and conservation leaders from the ten Groups of our PA Chapter. Additionally, our committee works with a number of other environmental and civic organizations (see the Water Brigade) to ensure that our state's waters are protected.


Two Important Collaborations
Since 2002, we have worked closely with the Pennsylvania Campaign for Clean Water (PCCW, www.pacleanwatercampaign.org) focusing on statewide water issues.  We have participated as members of the PCCW Steering Committee and their four Work Groups:  

      • Stormwater/Buffers,
      • Shale Gas Drilling,
      • Exceptional ValueStreams/Impaired Waters, 
      • Wetlands. 

More recently (2010), we joined the Choose Clean Water Coalition (CCW, www.choosecleanwater.org) and are continuing to work with the coalition on their 2013 priorities:

      • Ensuring Chesapeake Bay pollution limits continue to lay the groundwork for returning clean water to the region;
      • Promoting federal investment for Chesapeake Bay watershed restoration and protection efforts and defending against attempts in Congress or the Administration to weaken or eliminate them;
      • Strengthening policies and permits to stop polluted runoff in urbanized areas;
      • Protecting communities and regional water resources from the impacts of natural gas extraction. 


Our priorities for the year 2013

  • Buffers – A number of environmental organizations would like to revive efforts to expand buffer zones required in earth disturbance permits and new construction.  We have been active in past efforts to create stream buffers and will participate in a new campaign as it develops. Stronger rules requiring buffers will go a long way in protecting all of our streams and especially the extraordinarily important headwaters and small streams (link to healthy headwaters page).  Find more information about our previous Buffers 100 campaign.  A fact sheet about buffers and further information can be found at this link (http://www.pacleanwatercampaign.org/buffers/buffers-100-proposal/

  • Susquehanna River Protection – We will keep pressure on the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) to honor its mandate to protect water quality in the basin. We have opposed new water withdrawals for gas development until SRBC conducts a comprehensive water quality study on the impacts of drilling.

  • Clean Water Act– We will continue to monitor legislative activity concerning the Clean Water Act.

  • Chesapeake Bay Water Quality Improvement – We will monitor progress in reducing pollution loads.

  • Protect Small Mouth Bass in the Susquehanna River - by declaring Susquehanna River an impaired water. We will continue pressure on DEP to list the Susquehanna River as an impaired river due to decline in small mouth bass fishery.

  • Presque Isle Bay Delisting We will continue to monitor DEP efforts to delist Presque Isle Bay as an Area of Concern.

  • Pipelines Activism We will monitor and comment on Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) permits for stream crossings by new gas pipelines.

    Want to get on the National clean water email list? And stay tuned to national clean water efforts? Join the Sierra Club’s clean water email list by sending a request to Dalal Aboulhosn.