– An eight-bill package of legislation designed to help municipalities maintain local waterways has been passed by the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee. Included in the package is House Bill 2408
, legislation authored by state Rep. Mike Armanini (R-Clearfield/Elk) which passed predominately on a party-line vote.
“All eight bills were voted that way, with one side basically believing local governments can handle these problems and the other siding with bureaucrats in state government agencies,” said Armanini, who is a member of the committee. “I trust our elected officials to handle these circumstances effectively and in a timely manner.”
Armanini’s House Bill 2408 would do away with the requirement that permits must be obtained to preserve culverts.
“The eight bills in the package would empower municipalities in our districts with the ability to use their local knowledge and address flood-prone areas without having to wait on an answer from Harrisburg,” Armanini added. “Stream clearing and maintenance will be taken care of faster and just as efficiently when performed by the people who see and hear about the problems first and know how to solve them.”
The committee also unanimously passed Armanini’s legislation to address storage tank cleanup.
“The Storage Tank and Spill Prevention Act of 1989, which protects surface waterways and soil from releases of regulated substances from underground tanks, was going to expire at the end of June,” Armanini said. “House Bill 1780 would extend the sunset date through the year 2027 and keep this responsible piece of legislation in place.”
Here is a list of the other bills in the package:
House Bill 2404
(Rep. Clint Owlett, R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter): Would allow 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. This permit would grant an affirmative duty to the local government entity to properly maintain the streams and would not require the local government to get pre-approval for maintenance projects.
House Bill 2405
(Rep. Tina Pickett, R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna): Would create 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 district. This is modeled after a pilot project that has proven successful in Bradford County.
House Bill 2406
(Rep. Jonathan Fritz, R-Susquehanna/Wayne): Would create a permit specific to smaller maintenance projects for the mitigation of flood-related hazards of less than 250 linear feet. This permit would be reviewed and issued by the local county conservation district.
House Bill 2407
(Rep. Joe Hamm, R-Lycoming/Union): Would clarify that the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has no authority for permitting or enforcement related to stream clearing or maintenance activities. This authority shall belong solely to DEP and the county conservation districts as appropriate.
House Bill 2409
(Rep. Tim O’Neal, R-Washington): Would state 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 county.
House Bill 2410
(Rep. Brian Smith, R-Jefferson/Indiana): Would state that no permit shall be required for stream maintenance activities conducted 50 feet or less upstream or downstream of a bridge or culvert.
House Bill 2411
(Rep. John Hershey, R-Mifflin/Juniata/Franklin): Would require the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to issue an annual report about flooding and stream restoration.
Questions about this or any legislative issue may be directed to Armanini’s DuBois office at 1-814-375-4688 or his St Marys office at 1-814-781-6301.
Representative Mike Armanini
75th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Tricia Lehman