– As part of an effort to help prevent flooding, Rep. John Hershey (R-Mifflin/Juniata/Franklin) joined with seven other lawmakers today to introduce a package of legislation that would clear streams and creeks across the state.
Hershey learned more about flood damage in Tioga County during a hearing last December. A member of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, he has been championing legislation that would protect and improve Pennsylvania’s waterways for future generations.
“House Bill 2411
builds on other initiatives by requiring the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to issue an annual report about flooding and stream restoration. We cannot make educated decisions about stream health without good data, and DEP needs to be accountable to the General Assembly for the work it is doing,” Hershey said.
Hershey’s bill and others in the latest package of legislation aim to protect lives and property during heavy rains. The stream maintenance package of bills includes the following:
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 2408
(Rep. Mike Armanini, R-Clearfield/Elk): Would declare that no permit or authorization shall be required for maintenance activities conducted on a culvert.
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.
Representative John Hershey
82nd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jennifer Fitch
RepHershey.com / Facebook.com/RepHershey