Monday, September 22, 2014

CBF-PA: House Passes Bill Rolling Back Protection For Clean Water

Harry Campbell, Pennsylvania Director for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation issued the following statement Monday in response to House passage of House Bill 1565 (Hahn-R-Northampton) eliminating the nearly 4 year old requirement for stream buffers in High Quality and Exceptional Value streams.
“CBF is disappointed that the House of Representatives has passed House Bill 1565, which removes protections for Pennsylvania’s most pristine streams by allowing developers to cut down streamside trees. The bill is a huge step backward for the Commonwealth’s clean water efforts.
“Pennsylvania has a commitment to clean water, and streamside forested buffers are one of the most cost-effective, common-sense solutions to reducing pollution, managing floods, and maintaining iconic and economically important fish, like the brook trout. It simply does not make sense to allow developers to cut down existing trees, or to not require they be planted, on land development larger than one acre.
“The science is clear—planting and preserving trees along streams has innumerable benefits and has been widely adopted as a standard practice. Thousands of farmers and hundreds of developers, local governments, and businesses throughout the state have already planted and preserved buffers. These investments have all been made with the goal of managing polluted runoff, reducing flooding, and enhancing property values in the Keystone State.
“We are saddened at the decision to pass this bill, and will work with our members, advocates, and partners to stop the bill in the Senate.”
The bill was also opposed by PA Environmental Council, Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA, Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, the PA Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, the PA League of Women Voters and the PA Council of Trout Unlimited.

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