HARRISBURG – The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee approved a slate of bills this week that will change the name of the “Department of Environmental Protection” (DEP) to the “Department of Environmental Services,” and improve the Department’s appeals process, according to Chairman Gene Yaw (R-23).
- Senate Bill 198 – This legislation will provide more clarity regarding permit appeals from decisions made by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
- Senate Bill 199 – This legislation will require Environmental Hearing Board members who desire to stay on for more than one term to be reconfirmed by the Senate after their term expires
- Senate Bill 691 – This legislation will change the name of the “Department of Environmental Protection” to the “Department of Environmental Services”
Also approved was a package of legislation addressing stream maintenance, sponsored by Yaw, to give counties and municipalities greater flexibility in addressing obstructions and flood-related hazards in our local waterways.
- Senate Bill 689 – This legislation will allow for local government organizations to apply for a permit for continuing maintenance for a period of at least 10 years for the streams within their jurisdiction
- Senate Bill 690 – This legislation will 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
“Proper stream maintenance protects people, land and bridges from flood damage,” Yaw said. “These bills will help local officials respond more quickly and efficiently to emerging problems that could trigger more widespread damage and destruction.”
The legislation was sponsored last session by Representative Clint Owlett (R-68) and was approved by the committee in October.
“Our local officials are in the best position to manage and maintain our creeks and streams to help prevent flooding,” Owlett said. “This bill is all about protecting lives and livelihoods here in the Northern Tier and across the Commonwealth. I thank Senator Yaw for his work on this important issue.”
All of the bills approved today will now head to the full Senate for consideration.
For more state-related news and information, constituents can visit Senator Yaw’s website at www.SenatorGeneYaw.com or follow him on Facebook and Twitter @SenatorGeneYaw.
CONTACT: Elizabeth Weitzel