Friday, January 10, 2020

House Environmental Committee To Hold Info Meeting Jan. 15 On Triennial Review Of Water Quality Reg, Stream Redesignations

The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee is scheduled to hold a January 15  information meeting on “concerns” with the final Triennial Review Of Water Quality regulation.
DEP is required to review, revise and update, as needed, at least once every three years, water quality criteria and standards to reflect the latest scientific information and new federal guidelines for criteria development, and other implementation guidance.
The EQB adopted the regulation for comment in April of 2017 and held four public hearings on the proposal.
Among other issues, the regulation deals with setting standards for ammonia and bacteria, makes changes to stream designations for a variety of streams and providing for exceptions for fishable and swimmable waters.
At the time the regulations were adopted as final by the Environmental Quality Board in November. Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, Majority Chair of the Committee and a voting member of the EQB, raised an issue on behalf of the American Forest Paper Association. (See November EQB Minutes page 6.)
The Association expressed a concern that the Regulatory Analysis Form accompanying the regulation did not provide appropriate cost data to comply with the Regulatory Review Act because the cost data has to be evaluated on a site-specific basis.
Rep. Metcalfe voted against the final regulation.
The regulation is now in final review by the Senate and House environmental committees and the Independent Regulatory Review Commission.  It is scheduled to be considered at the Commission’s January 31 meeting.
The only comments submitted to the IRRC so far on the regulation have come from the Monroe County Clean Streams Coalition, a business and landowner group representing, among others, Kalahari Resorts, Pocono Manor and the Pocono Raceway, that has been in a multi-year effort to challenge DEP’s exceptional value water quality stream designations in the Pocono Region. 
The Coalition’s comments alleged DEP did not address the comments it submitted on the regulation during the public comment period which included a request for notice to landowners of stream redesignations.
On the other side of this issue in Monroe County has been the Brodhead Chapter of Trout Unlimited and PennFuture.  (See Pocono Record and StateImpactPA stories.)
A copy of the regulation, supporting documents and DEP’s presentation to the EQB can be found on the Environmental Quality Board 2019 meetings webpage for November.
The meeting will be held in Room B-31 of the Main Capitol starting at 10:00 a.m.  Click Here to watch the meeting online.
Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) serves as Majority Chair of the House Environmental Committee and can be contacted by calling 717-783-1707 or sending email to: Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware) serves as Minority Chair and can be contacted by calling 717-787-7647 or sending email to:
Related Article:
House Environmental Committee Meets Jan. 13 On Bill Legalizing Road Dumping Of Conventional Drilling Wastewater
[Posted: January 10, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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