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House Moves Bill To Roll Back Stream Buffer Protection, Final Vote Monday

This week the House moved House Bill 1565 (Hahn-R-Northampton) eliminating the nearly 4 year old requirement for stream buffers in High Quality and Exceptional Value streams which is positioned for a final vote next week.

On Monday the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee voted 15 to 7 to report the bill out of Committee.

Before being reported out, the bill was amended to make stream buffers a preferred option to help control erosion and sedimentation, but the keeps the provision eliminating the stream buffer requirement.  The amendment was approved 17 to 5.

The full House Wednesday amended House Bill 1565 (Hahn-R-Northampton) that would eliminate the nearly 4 year old requirement for stream buffers in High Quality and Exceptional Value streams to make buffers a “preferred” option, but the bill still retains the language eliminating the buffer requirement.

Rep. Chris Ross (R-Chester) offered the amendment which was agreed to and passed by a vote of 191 to 0.

Eight other amendments were offered to retain the current buffer requirement or make other changes, but those were defeated largely along party lines.

The bill was referred to the House Appropriations Committee for consideration and will be put in position for a final vote next week.

Click Here to add your voice in opposition to the bill.

Amendments to Chapter 102 of DEP’s regulations have required stream buffers in High Quality and Exceptional Value watersheds since November of 2010.

Section 102.14 provides a long list of exceptions to the buffer requirement, including: a project site located greater than 150 feet from a named waterbody; activities involving less than one acre of earth disturbance; activities when a permit is not required under Chapter 102; activities where the permit was acquired before November 19, 2010; road maintenance activities; repair and maintenance of existing pipelines and utilities; oil, gas, timber harvesting or mining activities; single family homes not part of a larger common plan or development; and activities authorized by a Department permit under another Chapter or title.

Other bills reported out by the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee included:

-- Senate Bill 1155 (Scarnati-R- Jefferson) creating a Aggregate Advisory Board within DEP- sponsor summary; and

-- House Resolution 925 (Rapp-R-Forest) directing the Joint State Government Commission to study the impact of wind turbines in Pennsylvania, in particular the impact on migratory birds and of forest removal.  The resolution was amended by Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware), Minority Chair of the Committee, to include a similar analysis for coal, natural gas, oil and nuclear power.

House Resolution 925 was adopted by the House. Senate Bill 1155 was referred to House Appropriations. 

Rep. Ron Miller (R-York) serves as Majority Chair and Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware) serves as Minority Chair.


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