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Release Date: 3/17/2000
Contact Information: Patrick Boyle (215) 814-5533

Patrick Boyle, 215-814-5533

PHILADELPHIA -- U. S. EPA Regional Administrator Bradley Campbell today walked Tohickon Creek in rural Bucks County with U. S. Rep. James Greenwood and local elected officials and environmentalists to underscore concerns about degraded water quality in Pennsylvania streams and to pledge continuing federal protection.

ACommunities are entitled to have the very highest protection for creeks and rivers of exceptional value like the Tohickon,@ Campbell said. “Across Pennsylvania, we must make sure that communities get the protection they deserve.@

Campbell praised U.S. Rep. Jim Greenwood, who joined him in a walk along Tohickon Creek, for his leadership in protecting this small trout stream that runs through some of Pennsylvania’s premier rock-climbing country and whose spring freshets are popular with kayakers.

Long an advocate for the creek, Rep. Greenwood last year obtained $50,000 to preserve the Quakertown Swamp, another upper Bucks County natural resource which is the largest blue heron rookery in eastern Pennsylvania and home to rare flora, muskrat, deer, fox, geese and a variety of wildlife.

Amidst Tohickon Creek’s natural beauty, Campbell warned that pressure from sprawl, mining and industry have seriously degraded many Pennsylvania streams, and that only a determined government effort can preserve what remains and begin to recover the natural areas that Americans treasure.

Waterways in central Bucks County have been stressed by sewage overflows such as a spill of raw sewage last September into Cabin Creek, a tributary of Tohickon Creek.

The focus on the Tohickon was intended to highlight concerns raised by EPA in the agency’s review of new Pennsylvania regulations required under the Clean WaterAct to protect streams like the Tohickon from degradation.

EPA released a letter in which Campbell approved most of the Commonwealth’s revised regulations. But in that letter, EPA withheld approval of the regulations that define Aexceptional value waters@ entitled to the highest standards of protection. The letter cites the Tohickon as an example of EPA’s concern that the revised Pennsylvania regulations may be read to narrow the protections established by current federal regulations.
Campbell committed to keeping a federal backstop in place until the issue is clarified in Pennsylvania’s regulations or its implementation procedures.
AAcross the state, communities are striving to protect their exceptional value waters from the impacts of sprawl and development,” Campbell said. AWe must make sure that the rules are implemented in a away that gives these communities the protection they deserve under the Clean Water Act.@