HARRISBURG – Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23) said a proposed regulation that limits manganese levels found in streams plays favorites among environmental groups and the mining industry, leaving Pennsylvania at a competitive disadvantage.
“This onerous rule goes above and beyond any known standard for treating manganese, a naturally occurring substance that not even the federal government considers toxic,” Yaw said. “Coupled with the absurdly low limit the state wants to establish, this rule serves only to punish mining operations and industrial sites, while giving itself and environmental groups a pass.”
The Environmental Quality Board voted 16-3 this week in favor of a regulation that would limit the amount of manganese discharged into streams and waterways to 0.3 mg/L, far below any existing limit placed on mining, coal and industrial operators. Not even the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) itself comes close to meeting this standard at more than three-quarters of the reclaimed sites it oversees.
“No other state in this country has set a toxicity standard for manganese, let alone one that DEP only applies to industry but does not hold itself or environmental and conservation groups that also manage water pollution to the same standard,” Yaw said. “This is yet another example of the DEP’s politically motivated attacks against industry, aided and abetted by an administration that routinely underrepresents the true impact of these regulatory schemes.”
Holding industry to this illogical standard will discourage private investment into systems that limit and repair legacy water discharges, and unnecessarily raise treatment costs for industry, while not changing the standard public water suppliers must meet in water they provide to their customers, Yaw said.
“It’s the same old story from this administration,” Yaw said. “More overreach justified by questionable science and forced through by abusing the regulatory process to cut out the legislature.”
The regulation now moves to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission for review in September.