On October 15, 2014, by a vote of 118 to 79, the House gave final approval to House Bill 1565 (Hahn-R-Northampton) that would weaken DEP requirements for stream buffers in Special Protection Watersheds. In September, the House passed an earlier version of the bill by the vote of 119 to 79. The bill now goes to the Governor for his action.
Click Here to see how your House member voted. House action Wednesday followed a vote by the Senate Tuesday which approved the bill by a vote of 27 to 22. Click Here to see how your Senate member voted.
Prior to its final Senate action, Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne), Minority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, amended the bill to change the provisions of the bill to give applicants the option to install practices other than a stream buffer, but only if they can prove other practices are “substantively equivalent to” a stream buffer.
The amendment also changed the provision allowing the installation of a buffer in other areas, but “as close as feasible to the area of disturbance” to limit the replacement buffer to areas within the same watershed.
Update: Governor Corbett signed the bill into law on October 22, 2014.
Source: PA Environment Digest