Buffer Regulations Approved by PA IRRC

July 2010Newsletters In the Zone

On June 17, 2010, the Pennsylvania Independent Regulatory Review Committee approved the final-form Chapter 102 regulations, which govern erosion and sedimentation pollution control as well as stormwater controls. The regulations contained a contentious provision requiring new developments in an Exceptional Value or High Quality watershed to implement a 150-foot buffer on either side of streams and other waterways.

By a vote of 4-1, the IRRC approval represents one of the final steps necessary before the regulation can go into effect. Among the remaining hurdles is a legislative review at the hands of both the House and Senate Environmental and Energy Resource Committees. Last week, the House joined the Senate in opting to exercise its review power, which includes a 14-day window following the IRRC action to evaluate the regulations and vote to approve or disapprove. Should either committee vote to disapprove, the General Assembly will have 10 legislative days (or 30 calendar days, whichever is longer) to likewise vote to disapprove the regulations. If such a vote occurs, the legislative disapproval will have to overcome a potential veto by Gov. Rendell, who has been supportive of the regulations.

Leading up to IRRC's hearing and vote, countless interested parties offered comments and testimony, advocating both the approval and disapproval of the regulations. Many state legislators likewise recommended a course of action for IRRC. Under the most likely scenario, the new Chapter 102 regulations will go into effect sometime this fall.

For more information, please contact Robert W. Gundlach, Jr. at 215.918.3636 or [email protected].