HARRISBURG – The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee approved a slate of bills this week that prioritize fairness in the distribution of drilling impact fees and bolster stream maintenance measures in Pennsylvania, said Chairman Gene Yaw (R-23).
Senate Bill 1331, sponsored by Yaw, prohibits counties that ban natural gas development on public lands from receiving their share of impact fees and Marcellus Shale Legacy drilling funds.
“These dollars have been critical in supporting local economic development, infrastructure improvements, environmental projects and emergency preparedness and response efforts – all of which are vital to communities and all of which cost a lot of money,” Yaw said. “So, when a county actively pursues drilling bans on public land, it seems reasonable to reinvest that money elsewhere.”
The committee also approved a package of bills that will help reduce destructive flooding and preserve existing infrastructure by cutting red tape and boosting state support for programs that help counties manage waterways more resourcefully, including:
- House Bill 2404 – This legislation amends the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act to create a continuous maintenance permit.
- House Bill 2405 – This legislation amends the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act to provide for county programs for the removal of obstructions and flood-related hazards on streams.
- House Bill 2406 – This legislation amends the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act to create a small stream maintenance project permit.
- House Bill 2407 – This legislation amends the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act to limit Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission authority or jurisdiction related to stream maintenance or clearing activities.
“Proper stream maintenance protects people, land and bridges from flood damage,” Yaw said. “These bills will help local officials respond more quickly and efficiently to emerging problems that could trigger more widespread damage and death.”
Three additional bills also received approval from the committee including:
- House Bill 2367 – This legislation limits the issuance of permits for the construction or installation of wind turbines that negatively affect military installations.
- House Bill 2458 – This legislation will create a taskforce to study the exportation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to supply the energy needs of allies around the world and what obstacles are currently preventing Philadelphia from becoming a leader in exporting LNG.
- House Bill 2528 – This legislation requires the Department of Environmental Protection to prioritize awarding well plugging contracts to Pennsylvania companies before considering out-of-state companies.
CONTACT: Nick Troutman