DEP Citizens Advisory Council Urges Senate, House To Adopt Funding Source For Hazardous Sites Cleanup Program Before It Becomes Insolvent
On February 21, DEP’s Citizens Advisory Council sent letters to members of the House and Senate urging them to act now to find a funding source for DEP’s Hazardous Sites Cleanup Program before it becomes insolvent.
“The HSCF [Hazardous Sites Cleanup Fund] will become insolvent as early as fiscal year 2019-2020 because of the expiration of the Capital Stocks and Franchise Tax in 2015. It is important to act now to find a revenue stream for the HSCF to avoid cessation of cleanup activities and grant programs and to allow enough lead time for money to be allocated before potential insolvency.
“Public health, welfare, and the environment will be jeopardized and economic development will be thwarted if the HSCF becomes insolvent.
“Whether it is water supply replacement for citizens with contaminated drinking water or the redevelopment of blighted properties in depressed communities, citizens across this Commonwealth benefit from the activities carried out under the HSCF.
“Many of these contaminated sites are legacy sites with no responsible party to fund remediation activities.
“Cleanup of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination is just one example of the work that will be forced to stop if the HSCF runs out of funding.
“DEP is currently responding directly under HSCA at 3 sites where PFAS is threatening human health and is overseeing investigations by the military at 10 other sites where PFAS has been detected, all with money from the HSCF.
“Efforts to protect drinking water sources at these and additional sites and coordinate with the federal government on PFAS contamination will cease or become severely restricted if the HSCF becomes insolvent.
“The Hazardous Sites Cleanup Program is a perfect example of the legislative and executive branches of our government working together as Constitutional trustees of the Commonwealth’s public natural resources for the benefit of all citizens, including generations yet to come. I urge you [on behalf of the Council] to continue this cooperation by passing legislation that will fully fund this vital program.”
The 18-member Citizens Advisory Council is appointed equally by the Senate, House and Governor to advise DEP on its programs.
(Photo: From DEP’s 2017-18 Annual Report on the program.)
[Posted: Feb. 22, 2019]
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