– A bill sponsored by Rep. Karen Boback (R-Luzerne/Lackawanna/Wyoming) that would provide Pennsylvania counties with funding for stormwater management and bring relief to ratepayers was the focus of an informational meeting conducted by the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee at the state Capitol today.
House Bill 781
would give county governments the option of using impact fee funds derived from the Marcellus Shale industry under Act 13 for stormwater management as mandated by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
“For months now, I have been working to find solutions to the federal stormwater mandate,” Boback explained to committee members. “House Bill 781 would amend the Marcellus Legacy Fund to provide counties with the option to utilize these funds for stormwater management. Currently, these funds can be used for projects such as greenways, recreational trails and open spaces.”
The committee heard from Jay Wilkes, supervisor chairman in Jackson Township, Luzerne County, who told them the township is part of a 32-municipality regional effort to share the costs of compliance with the EPA mandate. As part of his testimony, Wilkes provided a dramatic example of the mandate’s local impact, telling members that their volunteer fire department owes $10,000 annually but doesn’t have the money.
“The Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors supports House Bill 781 as a reasonable expansion of the use of these funds, which will help in our challenge of MS4 compliance,” said Wilkes.
“Our farmers, our churches, our schools, our grocery stores, our small businesses, our fire departments, every one of these wonderful places that we patronize and support are being lambasted with this fee,” said Boback. “So, there’s got to be another way to pay for this. Hopefully, the feds will come through and provide the funding for this mandate. But in the meantime, this is another option that we can give our counties.”
To view a video of Boback’s comments visit here
The committee also heard from Felicia Dell, York County Planning Commission director.
House Bill 781 is currently under consideration by the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.
Representative Karen Boback
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Andy Briggs