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Rep. Cartwright Secures New Federal Funding For Stormwater Improvements

May 23, 2019
Press Release
Appropriations Bill Will Double Funding Available For Local Grants In Chesapeake Bay Watershed Region, Including NEPA

WASHINGTON –This week, Representative Matt Cartwright (PA-08) convinced his colleagues on the House Appropriations Committee to approve new funding that will offset the costs of improving stormwater infrastructure in northeastern Pennsylvania, a growing issue for working families in the district and across the state.

As a member of the Appropriations Committee, Rep. Cartwright advocated for increased funding for sediment removal grants and programs to control polluted stormwater runoff in the Chesapeake Bay watershed region, which includes parts of Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District. This increased funding will help local cities and municipalities meet a federal mandate to restore the Chesapeake Bay, a mandate that has led to new and increased stormwater fees in places like Luzerne County.

“I’ve listened to the homeowners and seniors in northeastern Pennsylvania. They’re trying to feed their families or living on a fixed income,” Congressman Cartwright said. “I believe this new federal funding will help reduce local fees over time. Every dollar spent by the federal government is a dollar saved by local communities and working families. I want to thank Interior-Environment Subcommittee Chairwoman Betty McCollum for working with me on this.”

Specifically, the Appropriations Committee doubled the total money available for grants that can go to communities in northeastern Pennsylvania, from $12 million (in FY2019) to $24 million. This is part of an overall increase in the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Program, from $73 million to $85 million. The funding was part of the FY2020 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies budget bill, which was approved by the committee on Wednesday afternoon.

Organizations and local governments can use these grants to clean up streams and address specific pollution problems, such as sediment erosion, degraded wetlands and forest buffers, or aging and faulty sewer and stormwater systems. In the past, cities like Wilkes-Barre have used these grants to improve stormwater management and reduce pollution released into the Susquehanna River.