Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Local Govt. Associations All Oppose Manganese Rider On Budget Admin Code Bills

All of Pennsylvania’s local government associations Monday sent a letter to all members of the House and Senate expressing their opposition to a provision in the Senate-passed Administrative Code bill-- House Bill 118 (Kaufer-R-Luzerne) -- and in House-amended Senate Bill 446 (McGarrigle-R-Delaware) that would remove the requirement to treat manganese discharges from coal mining and other sites and force water users to remove the chemical.
         [Note: The Coal Alliance asked for the manganese amendment to be included in the bills, but with these local government groups now joining a growing list of environmental organizations, the business community, energy companies, and others opposed to major parts of the Senate-passed revenue package and their environmental riders does anyone now support these riders?]
The text of the letter follows--
Administrative Code Bills currently in both the House and Senate include riders that would remove required treatment of manganese at coal mine discharge sites and force more stringent testing and costly removal of manganese at water intake sites.
The Pennsylvania Local Government Conference, made up of the associations listed above, oppose this action.
This particular rider would undo 28 years of environmental protection for Pennsylvania waterways impacted by the consequences of acid mine drainage, and foist additional testing, monitoring and treatment at public water supply operations along these waterways.
For example, a municipal water authority operating a 1 MGD (million gallons/day) water treatment plant, estimated an additional annual cost of $20,000 just for chemical usage (Potassium Permanganate) to treat manganese.
They also noted that diligent monitoring and sampling is required by operators to ensure removal and prevention of unpleasant taste and odor, discoloration and staining, and potential health impacts from high manganese levels in their drinking water.
We are particularly concerned that environmental operations required of the coal mining industry will be rolled back and that the removal of required manganese treatment at point of discharge is environmentally irresponsible to public health, and fish and aquatic life in receiving streams.
We urge the General Assembly, Governor Wolf and DEP Secretary McDonnell to reconsider the impacts that adoption of this rider would have on the people and environment of Pennsylvania and remove it from the Administrative Code bills.
A copy of the letter is available online.
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