June 16, 2017; Harrisburg, Pa. – Environmental organizations and activists are joining together for a Susquehanna River Rally tomorrow morning in Harrisburg to create a mass call for clean water funding as state budget negotiations commence.
There is a water crisis in Pennsylvania, and a united voice of citizens is needed to inspire and enact change at the state level. State elected officials have failed to protect the water we drink by failing to protect our waters and streams, and as a result, Pennsylvania ranks third — behind Texas and Florida — for most reported drinking water safety violations.
Tomorrow, on Saturday, June 17 — before the start of crucial state budget negotiations — participants will wave paddles and rally signs from kayaks and canoes with the state capitol as our backdrop. As we urge our state legislators and Governor Wolf's administration to prioritize clean water, we'll have a raffle, music and a river paddling.
The health of the Susquehanna River, part of the Captain John Smith National Historic Trail (America's first water trail) and the source of drinking water for more than 6 million people, is threatened by animal waste and eroding soils. The river attracts locals and visitors from near and far and is a vital resource to our communities and a boon to our local economies.
“Our goals cannot be realized without continuing to make critical clean water investments in our communities,” said Ezra Thrush, Campaign Manager for Watershed Advocacy at PennFuture and state lead for the Choose Clean Water Coalition. “We are asking our state legislators and Governor to support funding for programs that provide critical aid to Pennsylvania, local governments and communities, and farmers throughout our region. We ask our members of the General Assembly and State Senate to enact common sense protections combatting urban and agricultural run-off and to establish dedicated funding for our clean water.”
WHAT: Susquehanna River Rally: Paddles & Signs in the Air!
WHEN: Saturday, June 17, 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
WHERE: City Island, Harrisburg, PA 17101 – Beach House Area
WHO: National Parks and Conservation Association, PennFuture, Choose Clean Water Coalition, The Pennsylvania Growing Greener Coalition, Pennsylvania Parks and Recreation Society, The Conservation Fund, Susquehanna Heritage, clean water activists and PA tap water drinkers.
Kayaks and canoes are generously provided by Susquehanna Outfitters, based in Wormleysburg, but participants are encouraged to bring their own kayak or canoe, if they own them.
“We have a constitutional responsibility to protect Pennsylvania’s environment, and that includes protecting and maintaining our rivers and streams,” said Andrew Heath, executive director of the Pennsylvania Growing Greener Coalition. “Recently introduced Growing Greener III legislation will go a long way in addressing our water quality issues. We must ensure that this legislation, with full funding, moves forward and gets passed. Our future depends on it.”
“The Susquehanna River, the six million Americans who rely on it for their drinking water, and the dozens of national parks downstream require stronger clean water protections from Pennsylvania’s elected officials,” said Amanda John, Pennsylvania and Delaware Program Manager for National Parks Conservation Association. “As part of the Captain John Smith National Historical Trail, the Susquehanna River is critical to the state’s recreation and tourism economies. Pennsylvania’s state legislature and Governor Wolf should take immediate action to increase funding for the state’s clean water programs that benefit our communities and our parks.”
Special thanks to the Harrisburg Area Riverboat Society for their generous donation of voyage passes to The Pride of the Susquehanna to be given away during the event. Participants are also encouraged to bring a personalized, nonpartisan rally sign advocating for clean water protections and funding. PennFuture also thanks the Keith Campbell Foundation and NPCA for sponsoring this event.
PennFuture is leading the transition to a clean energy economy in Pennsylvania and beyond. We are protecting our air, water and land, and empowering citizens to build sustainable communities for future generations. For more information, visit www.pennfuture.org.
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Contact: Stephanie Rex
Director of Communications