George: Permitting Strategy Will Protect State Waterways

HARRISBURG – State Rep. Camille “Bud” George, majority chair of the state House of Representatives’ Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, said a water-permitting strategy OK’d today will help to protect Pennsylvania’s natural resources and industries.

“The proposed regulations approved today by the Environmental Quality Board address the new and growing pressures on our vital natural resources, specifically the Total Dissolved Solids that are allowed into our waterways,” said George, D-74 of Houtzdale. “The strategy recognizes that many waterways are approaching critical thresholds that must be dealt with immediately.”

The proposed standards would apply to end-of-pipe discharges with statewide regulation for all dischargers of Total Dissolved Solids.

George, an EQB member, said Pennsylvania’s current rules allow dissolved solids — inorganic salts, organic matter and other elements — to pass through treatment facilities and into streams, potentially damaging water quality, aquatic life, residential pipes and industrial pipes, valves and equipment.

“The burgeoning Marcellus Shale gas industry in the Commonwealth requires this update in Pennsylvania’s permitting rules,” George said. “State waterways already were under siege from sources as varied as acid-mine discharges and agricultural run-off, and we cannot afford to dither while our water resources remain threatened.

“The draft regulation strikes the right balance of protecting our waters without placing an undue burden on our businesses,” George said.  “The state Department of Environmental Protection worked closely with shareholders to craft this strategy to prevent any repeats of the problems we’ve encountered in the Monongahela River and Dunkard Creek in Greene County.”

 George said the EQB also approved draft regulations that would bolster stream buffers for high- quality and exceptional value waterways.

The regulations face review before the Independent Regulatory Review Commission.

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