Everett introduces flooding regulations
MUNCY – State Rep. Garth Everett, R-Muncy, urged Gov. Tom Corbett and colleagues in the state Legislature to establish a fund specifically for addressing victims of natural disasters such as those caused by the recent flooding during a hearing in Harrisburg last week.
“The severe weather events have pointed out the strong need for such a fund,” Everett said. “The damage in many parts of the commonwealth put stress on local budgets, many to the breaking point.”
In addition to setting up a fund, Everett is pushing for municipalities to be allowed to address stream needs and prevent future flooding. It would include removal of debris from creeks and rivers and stream bank remediation.
Everett spoke before a joint hearing of the Senate and House Affairs and Emergency Preparedness committees. They are planning to meet with state Department of Environmental Protection officials to discuss the issue.
He said the state is losing valuable farmland in part due to DEP’s “hands-off” policy and the bureaucracy and engineering costs needed to acquire permits to work on streams.
“We are just talking about streamlining some regulations,” he said..
Everett said the dollars for the disaster fund can be drawn in part from the state’s surplus monies. Another option is to tap the state’s Johnstown Flood Tax.
The only snag, he said, is ensuring that money directed to those in need of the funding does not conflict with Federal Emergency Management Agency dollars.
“There are ways you can do it,” he said. “Twenty-five other states have figured it out.”