Thursday, December 16, 2021

House Republicans Pass Bill Making Fundamental Changes In Clean Streams Law, Letting Companies Decide When To Report Spills

On December 14, the House passed
House Bill 1842 (Zimmerman-R-Lancaster) to make fundamental changes in the Clean Streams Law related to the definition of water pollution and letting companies decide when to report spills by a vote of 108 to 95-- Republicans supporting.

The bill is a companion to Senate Bill 545 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) introduced at the request of Merck Sharp & Dohme Corporation which was unhappy with an April 17, 2017 settlement with DEP over an appeal of a stormwater pollution prevention permit for its West Point, Montgomery County plant (Environmental Hearing Board Docket No. 2015-011-L).  Read more here.

The Clean Streams Law now simply says, “contamination of any waters of the Commonwealth such as will create or is likely to create a nuisance or to render such waters harmful, detrimental or injurious to public health, safety or welfare, or to domestic, municipal, commercial, industrial, agricultural, recreational, or other legitimate beneficial uses, or to livestock, wild animals, birds, fish or other aquatic life.”

Environmental criminal charges brought by Attorney General Shapiro against the Mariner East Pipeline demonstrate clearly why the obligation of reporting pollution needs to be crystal clear, and not left up to the company causing the pollution. Read more here.

House Bill 1842 was referred to the Senate Environmental Resource and Energy Committee chaired by Sen. Gene Yaw.

[Posted: December 16, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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