Millard Votes to Reduce Bureaucratic Red Tape for Flood Cleanup Issues
HARRISBURG - In an effort to remove a bureaucratic and costly burden on municipal governments, the state House approved legislation to force the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to streamline the process for removing gravel bars and other obstructions from streams. Rep. David Millard (R-Millville) is a co-sponsor and vocal advocate for the bill.

“Local governments all across Pennsylvania often face significant financial distress from flooding events,” Millard said. “It’s been frustrating that DEP bureaucracy has created more distress for them by having a flood cleanup permit policy that is filled with red tape.”

House Bill 2359, sponsored by Rep. Martin Causer (R-Cameron/Mckean/Potter Counties), directs the state’s Environmental Quality Board to establish a streamlined process for the removal of flood-related hazards or related stream clearing activities by people owning an adjacent property or the local municipality. The guidelines would require that DEP be notified prior to the removal of debris, but would not require permits or professional engineering services.

Under provisions of the bill, in the event of an immediate emergency (as deemed by local, county, or state authorities) the flood-related hazards may be removed prior to notifying DEP.

“This bill remedies an issue that I’ve heard a lot about from local government officials and affected private property owners,” Millard said. “Currently, a municipality can’t move quickly to clean up a stream until DEP grants all necessary permits. When dealing with flood cleanup issues, quick action is often key to preventing further, more costly problems.”

Millard said he’s heard stories from rural areas all over the Commonwealth of situations where it’s taken as long as five years to get a DEP permit to remove a gravel bar caused by flooding. During Appropriations Committee hearings in February, Millard, as well as other rural area lawmakers, questioned DEP Secretary Michael Krancer extensively on the permit issue. The topic also came up in Krancer’s recent visit to Bloomsburg.

“Because the DEP has not been able to provide an internal solution to this ongoing problem, I’m hopeful that this legislation will lead to a resolution,” Millard said.

House Bill 2359 passed by a vote of 136-60 on Monday evening and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

State Representative David Millard
109th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Diane Moore
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