Brown’s Bill to Financially Assist PA Dam Owners Passes Committee
12/19/2015
HARRISBURG – On Friday, the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee voted in favor of House Bill 1712, legislation sponsored by Rep. Rosemary M. Brown (R-Monroe/Pike) to establish the freestanding Private Dam Financial Assurance Act. This bill addresses an issue that was originally brought to Brown’s attention by residents of the 189th District.

Under the Dam Safety and Water Encroachment Act and the Pennsylvania Code, private dam owners are required to have a financial responsibility tool in place by Jan. 8, 2016, in the event their dam would need to be breached. The average cost of breaching a dam is estimated at $170,000, Brown added.

“I have been working with private dam owners and the Department of Environmental Protection to help private dam owners meet the January 2016 requirement,” Brown said. “That’s what this bill is all about.”

It has been difficult for many private dam owners to obtain bonds based on the makeup of their organizations, which often include homeowners’ associations or their financial status. Financial institutions do not consider these organizations to be stable to offer bonds.

“I have received a lot of input from dam owners across the state who have been unable to obtain these bonds,” Brown said. “This bill would establish the Financial Assurance Program, which would provide financial assurance for the private owners of regulated dams in order to meet the financial obligations imposed under the Dam Safety and Encroachment Act.”

The program would be self-funded, with dam owners paying a one-time $1,000 registration fee, in addition to a 1 percent annual fee of the bond amount required by DEP, Brown explained. Additionally, once this fund reaches $1.5 million, loans may be authorized for repairs.

In Pennsylvania, there are approximately 3,378 regulated dams, and nearly 404 of them are privately owned. A high portion of these dams are owned by the state or municipalities, some are owned by mining companies, and others are privately owned, Brown noted. The bill has been sent to the full House for its consideration.

For more information about this legislation, or any state-related issue, contact Brown’s district office in East Stroudsburg located at 143 Seven Bridge Road, by calling 570-420-8301. Information can also be found on online at RepBrown.com or Facebook.com/RepRosemaryBrown.

Representative Rosemary M. Brown
189th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact:  Krisinda Corbin
KCorbin@pahousegop.com
RepBrown.com / Facebook.com/RepRosemaryBrown 
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