Legislative Update in Pennsylvania

September 2014Articles In the Zone

House Bill No. 1565 proposes to, among other things, amend the Clean Streams Law pertaining to the use of riparian buffers.

In short, the proposed legislation, as per a summary of House Bill No. 1565 prepared by the House Committee on Appropriations, would add to the Clean Streams Law “a new subsection allowing the use or installation of riparian buffers and riparian forest buffers to be optional and no longer mandatory among best practices, design standards and alternatives to minimize the potential for accelerated erosion and sedimentation and to protect, maintain, reclaim and restore water quality and for existing and designated uses.”

One of the members of the House who introduced House Bill No. 1565 was Representative Marcia Hahn, who represents a portion of Northampton County and has been a member of the House since 2010. In a memorandum summarizing the proposed legislation, Representative Hahn provides that “[b]usinesses and landowners alike have expressed their frustration with our 25 Pa. Code, Section 102.14 riparian buffer requirements and the negative impacts they have on development and land use in many areas of the Commonwealth. It seems to me that this regulation has resulted in a major shift of state policy, which in effect, amounts to a taking of property without legislative oversight
or approval.”

As to the status of House Bill No. 1565, it has not yet been passed.

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