Good morning Supporter,
A package of bills is moving in Harrisburg today that could significantly undermine water quality and bedrock safeguards in Pennsylvania — taking away authority from key agencies which protect our local waterways.
Specifically, seven bills could be voted on soon under the guise of proactive “stream maintenance,” but these bills would instead undermine the work of our enforcement and environmental protection agencies who ensure our Commonwealth’s streams are protected, including the PA Fish & Boat Commission and the PA Department of Environmental Protection. This legislation also puts in jeopardy critical protections in place due to the Clean Water Act and Pennsylvania’s Clean Streams Law.
These bills, all of which PennFuture opposes, are as follows:
- HB 2404, which allows for local government organizations to apply for a permit for continuing maintenance for a period of at least 10 years for the streams within their jurisdiction, but does not require those organizations to get pre-approval for maintenance projects within those streams.
- HB 2405, which creates a program that allows counties to opt-in to address hazards within their streams by allowing for emergency maintenance permits in consultation with their county conservation districts.
- HB 2406, which creates a permit specific to smaller maintenance projects for the designation of flood-related hazards of less than 250 linear feet, which shall be reviewed and approved by the local county conservation district.
- HB 2407, which states that the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has no authority for permitting or enforcement related to stream cleaning or maintenance activities.
- HB 2408, which declares that no permit shall be required for maintenance activities conducted on a culvert.
- HB 2409, which states that no permit shall be required for the removal of flood-related hazards from streams that are deemed to be an emergency by a state or a county.
- HB 2410, which states that no permit shall be required for stream maintenance activities conducted 50 feet or less upstream or downstream of a bridge or culvert.
Put simply, these bills would take oversight and protections out of the hands of state agencies and put at risk conservation, regulation and protection efforts for which the agencies are charged.
Deregulation, coupled with stripping state agencies of enforcement and permitting responsibilities, is not a recipe for success for clean water. Please do the right thing: contact your elected official in the state House of Representatives and ask them to vote against this package of misguided bills.