Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Bill Creating PA Aggregate Advisory Board Sent To Governor

The House gave final approval this week to Senate Bill 1155 (Scarnati-R- Jefferson) creating a Aggregate Advisory Board within DEP sending the bill to the Governor for his action.
Sen. Joe Scarnati, who spearheaded the measure introduced as Senate Bill 1155 last October, explained that the new Aggregate Advisory Board will advise the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection regarding the Pennsylvania aggregate mining industry.
“I am pleased that Senate Bill 1155 has received such overwhelming bipartisan support by both the Senate and House of Representatives,” Scarnati said.  “The Board will play an important role in advising the PA DEP Secretary and staff on all matters pertaining to the aggregate mining industry in Pennsylvania.  In addition, the Board will make recommendations to the department in the development of experimental practices, methods of backfilling, solutions for preexisting pollution liability, alteration of reclamation plans, the aggregate mining permitting process, fee structure and bonding rates.”
According to Sen. Scarnati, the Aggregate Advisory Board will be composed of experts from the Pennsylvania aggregate mining industry, citizen advisory groups, county conservation agencies, environmental consultants, and representatives from the four caucuses of the General Assembly.
Membership of the Board will be as Follows:
-- The Secretary of DEP will serve as Chair of the Board
-- Three aggregate surface mining operators (Appointed by the Chair)
-- Four public members from the Citizens Advisory Council (Appointed by the Council)
-- One member from the County Conservation Districts (Appointed by the State Conservation Commission)
-- Four members of the General Assembly, two from each chamber, one member from the majority party and one member from the minority party (Appointed by the President Pro Tempore and the Speaker of the House)
Sen. Scarnati noted that the board will be modeled after the successful Mining and Reclamation Advisory Board which advises the Secretary of DEP on matters related to surface coal mining and reclamation.
“The creation of this advisory board will assure that the policy decisions and changes from the DEP regarding aggregate mining will be made with input from stakeholders, both from the aggregate mining industry and Pennsylvania residents,” Sen. Scarnati stated.
The Board will be required to meet at least once per quarter and will also submit an annual report to the General Assembly.
Senate Bill 1155 has been sent to the governor’s desk.  Once signed the law takes effect in 60 days.
A summary and House Fiscal Note are available.

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