HARRISBURG – The Senate on Tuesday approved an amended version of House Bill 1565 and sent it back to the House for a concurrence vote. The 27-22 vote included the support of Sen. Lisa Baker, R-20, who fought for its passage because of the impact existing legislation has had on parts of her district, especially Pike, Wayne and Monroe counties.
She noted the language in the current law has a disproportionately negative impact in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
“While 34 percent of this land is in Pennsylvania with the high quality/exceptional value watersheds, in Pike County 98 percent of all private land is high quality/exceptional value; Wayne County is 94 percent; and Monroe is 85 percent,” she said.
Baker said the legislation is a “landowner/property rights bill” that seeks to “develop a balance between responsible development and environmental protection.”
“I’m not interested in paving the way for huge developments nor trying to punch holes in clean water. My interest is in giving relief to landowners who find they can not do improvements to their property costing jobs and opportunities that rural areas can ill afford to lose,” Baker said.
“This bill will allow science to be the key consideration in decision making rather than the map so one size doesn’t fit all in the Commonwealth. We will be able to use best practices,” Baker said, noting that the bill will not take DEP oversight away from on-lot septic, wetlands, or National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit requirements.
She called the bill a “reasonable and responsible remedy” that “is fair and balanced.”
Andrew M. Seder