FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Joint Panel Holds Two Days of Hearings on Flood Mitigation and Stormwater Management
Senate Environmental Resources and Energy, Majority Policy committees hear from engineers, local, state and federal officials.
Harrisburg - The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, chaired by Sen. Mary Jo White (R-21), and the Senate Majority Policy Committee, chaired by Sen. Ted Erickson (R-26), held joint public hearings Tuesday and Wednesday on flood mitigation and stormwater management.
Many Pennsylvania communities face ongoing flooding issues, with several hit especially hard by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. The joint panel heard from engineers and infrastructure experts, along with local, state and federal officials.
"What we're trying to do is identify the causes of flooding across our commonwealth – and the causes are different in different areas – and then look at possible solutions, such as the use of environmental engineering design concepts to manage stormwater and regional cooperation to address runoff issues," said Erickson. "Ultimately, preventing flooding by channeling and reducing runoff where possible will cost less than flood recovery."
"In the wake of the recent flooding across Pennsylvania, we heard from a number of communities that were devastated," said White. "While the impacts differed in size, and in the effects on towns, personal lives and the economy, these hearings will allow us to gather information on what federal, state and local agencies are currently doing and what we could do better as we move forward. What can we do to mitigate damages and to limit the burdens on the residents of Pennsylvania?"
On Tuesday, the committees heard from academics, environmental engineers, and other water resources experts who discussed engineering solutions to stormwater runoff, such as the use of green infrastructure design and ongoing maintenance of stormwater systems. Rain gardens, porous asphalt, and restoring eroded floodplains were cited as examples of successful stormwater management techniques. Also discussed were regional approaches to watershed management, financial incentives to encourage green infrastructure, and the regulatory hurdles faced by communities to manage stormwater.
On Wednesday, the panel took testimony from representatives of the state Department of Environmental Protection, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. DEP's Deputy Secretary for Water Management Kelly Heffner told committee members that communities can obtain emergency permits to clear streams of debris during and after weather events, a fact of which many communities may not be aware.
Also testifying were officials from Wyoming and Lycoming counties, which experienced severe flood damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. The local officials discussed steps state agencies could take to aid flood mitigation, such as revising Act 167 regulating stormwater planning.
In addition to exploring ways to improve flood prevention and mitigation, the Senate was poised Wednesday to approve a comprehensive, bipartisan legislative package aimed at bringing relief to those affected by September's hurricane-related flooding.
Adam Pankake 717-787-9684 (Sen. White)
Michele Hansarick 717-787-1350 (Sen. Erickson)
Home | Profile | News | Electronic Bill Room | District Info | Constituent Services | Contact Me | Senate Resources | State Resources | Federal Resources | Senior Resources | Veterans Resources | Kids Resources | Publications | Photo Gallery
Senate of Pennsylvania