Financially Assisting Private Dam Owners, Communities and Individuals is the Focus of Brown’s Bill
2/10/2016
HARRISBURG – Rep. Rosemary M. Brown (R-Monroe/Pike) initiated House Bill 1712, which seeks to establish the self-funded, freestanding Private Dam Financial Assurance Act. Brown’s bill passed the state House this week, with a unanimous bipartisan vote, 196-0.

“This legislation is especially important because it addresses an issue that was brought to me by residents of the 189th District who privately own and are responsible for dams,” Brown explained. “I have worked diligently on this legislation with my staff for more than two years.”

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. Brown added that the average cost of breaching a dam is estimated at $170,000.

“Many private dam owners have been extremely stressed with obtaining bonds due to the setup of their organizations,” Brown said. “Oftentimes, financial institutions don’t consider homeowners associations to be stable enough to offer bonds. With any private ownership, the financial stress to meet regulations has been tremendous. This legislation helps reduce the financial burden, while still protecting the state and public safety.”

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 the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Brown explained. Additionally, once this fund reaches $1.5 million, loans may be authorized for repairs. The program will be advertised through the Department of Community and Economic Development in conjunction with DEP.

In Pennsylvania, there are approximately 3,378 regulated dams, and nearly 404 of them are privately owned.

This bill has been sent to the Senate for its consideration. Brown encourages residents who own a private dam to contact their state senator to show their support for this legislation, and continue its movement through the Senate and to the governor’s desk to become law.

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
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