HARRISBURG – State Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23) today discussed legislation that will improve Pennsylvania’s waterways during the 2021 PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Virtual Conference.
This year’s theme of the Conference is titled “Overcoming Challenges — A Bright Future.” The conference included many excellent speakers including Jaret Gibbons, Executive Director, ARIPPA; DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell; Jon Smoyer, PA DEP’s Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation; Tom Clark, Susquehanna River Basin Commission and others.
Sen. Yaw focused his remarks on Senate Bill 832, which would allocate $250,000,000 for fiscal year 2021-2022 from money received by the Commonwealth (from federal Rescue Funds) to a “Clean Streams Fund” for the state. The monies would be distributed as follows:
- $125 M (50%) would go to a new Agricultural Conservation Assistance Program to be administered through county conservation districts based on local needs.
- $50 M (20%) would go to the existing AMD Abatement and Treatment Fund.
- $25 M (10%) would go to a new Municipal Stormwater Assistance Program to help communities plan and implement stormwater practices.
- $25 M (10%) would go to a new Clean Water Procurement Program to spur further innovation and private investment.
- $18.75M (7.5%) would go the existing Nutrient Management Fund for the implementation of nutrient management plans by agricultural operations and expansion of Conservation Excellence Grants that target resources to key areas in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, currently under a 2025 deadline for BMP implementation.
- $6.25M (2.5%) would go to the existing Keystone Tree Restricted Account, which supports DCNR tree-planting programs on farms and in local communities.
“As Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and a member of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, I have been proud to work towards the betterment of Pennsylvania’s 85,000 miles of rivers and streams,” Sen. Yaw said. “Unfortunately, a legacy of intensive land use has left almost one-third of those waters unsafe for either humans or aquatic life. By restoring these waters, we will reduce the cost of drinking water treatment and invest in our top two industries – tourism and agriculture – by helping farms improve soil health and increasing recreational opportunities throughout the Commonwealth.”