Thursday, June 23, 2022

House Republicans Move Bill Conflicting With Federal Stormwater Requirements, Could Cost PA $7 Million In Federal Funding

On June 23, Republicans on the
House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee reported out House Bill 2331 (Gleim-R-Cumberland) that conflicts with federal MS4 Stormwater Program requirements and could risk $7 million in much needed funding to support DEP’s water quality permitting program.

The most fundamental provision of the bill directs DEP to do active water quality sampling of every watershed in the state every year-- over 1,000 watersheds, 85,500 miles of streams, 2 million acres of lakes--  an impossible task to begin with and does not include any resources to do any of the evaluations called for, not even at a much reduced level or with help from other agencies and organizations. 

Since this fundamental provision of the bill cannot rationally be implemented, the remainder of the bill is moot.

The Department of Environmental Protection advised the Committee in June 13 testimony that several criteria included in the bill to exempt municipalities from the federal MS4 Stormwater Program conflict with the criteria for waivers in federal law and regulations.

If the bill becomes law, one or more of these conflicts would put Pennsylvania out of compliance with the federal Program and could result in the loss of $7 million in federal funding to support DEP’s water quality permitting program.

An amendment by Committee Republicans presented at the meeting attempted to clean up some of these discrepancies.

Pennsylvania has been wrestling with the MS4 Stormwater Program for more than a decade and the resources were not forthcoming from the Majority in the General Assembly to help these communities comply-- which is what they really need.

Now thanks to the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Pennsylvania has many more resources to address combined sewer and stormwater pollution prevention infrastructure needs through the PA Infrastructure Investment Authority and the state is in a much better position to help these communities.

Visit DEP’s Municipal Stormwater webpage to learn more about this program.

The Committee also reported out House Resolution 213 (Metcalfe-R-Butler) urging Congress to fund measures to protect the power grid from electromagnetic pulse attacks and solar flare incidents (sponsor summary).

Both pieces of legislation now go to the full House for consideration.

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 Articles This Week:

-- Who’s Protecting Taxpayers?  House Republicans Pass Bill Exempting Conventional Oil & Gas Wells From Plugging Bonds Sticking Taxpayers With $5.1 Billion In Cleanup Liability

-- House Republicans Pass Bill Giving IRRC Veto Over Final Regulations; Stacking The IRRC  

[Posted: June 23, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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