HARRISBURG – Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23) joined Rep. Clint Owlett and others on Tuesday in Tioga County for a tour and discussion on flood protection and its impact on the community. Flooding now threatens to undermine new bridge abutments in the county.
“As someone who has lived in this region my entire life, I have been an advocate for changes to current state regulations for stream maintenance. We need to find a better way to manage our waterways from a practical and monetary standpoint,” Sen. Yaw said.
During the 2021-2022 legislative session, Senator Yaw, who chaired the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, advanced bills to address creek and stream maintenance. The Committee approved the following bills:
- House Bill 2404 (Owlett): Would allow local government organizations and PennDOT to apply for a permit for continuing maintenance for a period of at least 10 years for the streams within their jurisdiction.
- House Bill 2405 (Pickett) Would create a program that allows counties to opt in to address hazards within their streams by allowing for emergency maintenance permits in consultation with their county conservation district.
- House Bill 2406 (Rep. Jonathan Fritz, R-Susquehanna/Wayne): Would create a permit specific to smaller maintenance projects for the mitigation of flood-related hazards of less than 250 linear feet. This permit would be reviewed and issued by the local county conservation district.
- House Bill 2407 (Rep. Joe Hamm, R-Lycoming/Union): Would clarify that the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has no authority for permitting or enforcement related to stream clearing or maintenance activities. This authority shall belong solely to Department of Environmental Protection and the county conservation districts as appropriate.
The bills, which were developed following a hearing of the House Majority Policy Committee in Wellsboro late last year, did not pass the full Senate this session; however, they will likely be reintroduced. Yaw noted he plans to introduce legislation of his own during the 2023-2024 session.
For more state-related news and information, visit Senator Yaw’s website at www.SenatorGeneYaw.com or on Facebook and Twitter @SenatorGeneYaw.