Former Senator William J. Stewart (D-Cambria) passed away March 7. He served in the Senate from 1987 to 1996 and was a member of the House from 1997 to 1987.
As Chair of the Senate Community and Economic Development Committee in the mid-1990s, Sen. Stewart was instrumental in helping to develop bipartisan legislation to promote the cleanup and reuse of brownfield industrial sites.
Working with his counterpart on the Committee, Sen. Tim Shaffer (R-Butler), and Sen. David Brightbill (R-Lebanon) and Sen. Ray Musto (D-Luzerne) from the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, a bipartisan consensus resulted in the Senate passing Land Recycling legislation in 1993 by a vote of 42 to 4. (The legislative session ended without House action.)
This consensus was even more remarkable because it was developed during a tumultuous period of time when the majority of the Senate moved from one party to the other and the committee responsibilities moved from one set of chairman to another.
The following session saw the Land Recycling Program and its two companion bills passed by the Senate with broad bipartisan agreement and signed into law by Gov. Tom Ridge.
Sen. Stewart was prime sponsor of Act 3, the Economic Development Agency, Fiduciary and Lender Environmental Liability Protection Act, that was part of the package.