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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Hahn Watering Down Clean Streams Law

The famous Moon River
Riparian buffers are patches of vegetation next to a stream. They're said to improve water quality and reduce pollution. Under the Clean Streams Law, new developments must have a 150' wide  buffer alongside high quality streams.  State Rep. Marcia Hahn calls it a "taking of property without legislative oversight or approval." She's proposed a law to make these buffers optional, and it passed the state House late last month,  119-79. 

Locally, Hahn's bill was supported by Republicans Julie Harhart, Gary Day, Ryan Mackenzie and Joe Emrick, It was opposed by Democrats Bob Freeman, Dan McNeil, Steve Samuelson, Mike Schlossberg and Republican Justin Simmons.

Her bill is supposed to be considered by the State Senate this week.

SteamHugger contends no landowner should be allowed to degrade water quality for those downstream. The GOP House contends it gives landowners "greater flexibility".

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

I;m willing to be that the closest Julie Harhart gets to a stream is when she sits on the porcalain pony every morning.

Anonymous said...

Bought and paid for by developers to line their pockets. Disgusting piece of legislation.

Anonymous said...

No property is private. You didn't build that. Welcome to the USSR.

donmiles said...

Hahn's bill to eliminate stream buffers will degrade stream-water quality and increase downstream flooding. They allow fishermen and hunters to enjoy high-quality streams. Stream buffers help purify streams and lessen downstream flooding (for example, upstream buffers on the Monocacy Creek lessen flooding in downtown Bethlehem at the historic area). Hahn's contention that stream buffers are a "taking without compensation" is absurd: they are no more a taking than are yard setbacks in zoning laws.
The Lehigh Valley Sierra Club spoke with Hahn months ago to try and persuade her to abandon this bill but she was unresponsive. Senator Boscola did not have time to meet with us to discuss the bill (although her staff acknowledge receipt of an email from us about it). Reps. Freeman and Samuelson were vocal against the bill but unsuccessful to defeat in the PA House.
Those concerned about clean streams in Pennsylvania should call Senators Boscola and Browne today to urrge them to vote agains this awful bill.
-- Don Miles, LV Sierra Club chair

Anonymous said...

Where are the locals on this issue?

County Planning Commission?
Conservation Districts?

You just hear silence and see zero action. If Hahn's bill barely gets noticed by groups like conservation districts and the planning commission, that pipeline will go wherever it wants and nobody will care.

Anonymous said...

I think Marcia Hahn is currying favor for developers and needs to be voted out of office. Is requiring a buffer to exceptional and high value streams really that much of a financial burden to development? Come on, get real. What has she done for us except smile for the camera?

Her legislation leaves it up to the developer to follow best practices, which is like the fox guarding the hen house. Developers do a lot of lobbying in Harrisburg, and we pay the price as they are always fond someone to cater to them.

Anonymous said...

that was supposed to read "and they always find someone to cater to them."

Anonymous said...

@8:37 Actually, there have been emails flying around, and letters written by municipalities in opposition to this legislation. Things like this don't get publicized too much. A lot of times your local elected leaders do not wish to "put themselves out there" and go on the record in view of others (eg developers, higher politicians, etc).

Ron Beitler said...

Don, anything from Senator Browne's office? Does he have a stance on this?

Anonymous said...

At least she's not yet been accused of murder by this blog. Perhaps tomorrow's post?

"Hahn Votes To Kill Constituents!"

Bernie O'Hare said...

Your comment is an OT attempt to divert attention away from the issue under consideration. But that's what haters do. And incidentally, the health plan reductions being arbitrarily imposed by Brown will kill a county worker. That is no exaggeration. It is simply what is going to happen. I did not call it murder; you did.

C said...

It is a poor piece of legislation as it is written.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, that stream you pictured is definitely of exceptional value, and needs to be protected.

I'd like to treat Marcia to the same view to show her what I think of her bill.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I hope Google does not shut me down.

Anonymous said...

Did that big Alteri girl pay you for this post? She is a professional candidate who will agree with whatever the person talking to wants.

Anonymous said...

@4:03 I guess the objective question of whether the few high value waterways we have deserve a buffer from development, including screening from the sun to protect aquatic life, was too high brow for you to address.

Anonymous said...

"Brown Kills Worker!"

"Hahn Murders Constituents!"

This blog has become the equivalent of one of those sensational "When Animals Attack" shows. You're embarrassing yourself, Bernie. And that's no easy feat.

Anonymous said...

Why not take the stream banks by eminent domain and compensate the property owners.

That should protect the streams AND compensate property owners for the loss of property rights.

I grew up in the exurbs of a big city. The area had numerous farms, most of which were developed into suburban housing tracts -- which are no inhabited by voters that want to prevent the few remaining large and not so large tracts from being developed. Preserve open space they say. The hypocrites want to legislate it, the honest man is willing to purchase those rights at fair value.

Im not familiar with the law being referenced here but if the streams are worthy of saving lets do it fairly and buy the rights for posterity.