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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: November 19, 2015 02:51 PM
From: Representative Garth D. Everett
To: All House members
Subject: Water Use Fee
As a member of the Pennsylvania Delegation of the Chesapeake Bay Commission and the Environmental Resources & Energy, Game & Fisheries and Appropriations Committees, I am acutely aware of the challenges facing our water resources and water quality here in Pennsylvania and the need to come up with innovative funding mechanisms to reinvest in our land and water and the programs and agencies charged with their stewardship.

Pennsylvania is estimated to have more than 86,000 miles of streams and rivers, nearly 4,000 lakes covering 161,455 acres, and 80 trillion gallons of groundwater. The commercial demand for these waters continues to grow, with daily withdrawals of billions of gallons of the Commonwealth’s surface and groundwater. The water directly withdrawn from our streams, lakes and rivers is owned by the citizens of the Commonwealth and we are allowing this valuable asset to be utilized by commercial and industrial users at no cost. Some of this water is never returned to the water cycle and much that is returned is in a degraded condition from when it was withdrawn.

With that said, I plan to introduce a Resolution directing the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to conduct a study of the establishment, implementation, and administration of fees for the consumptive use and the use and return of “waters of the Commonwealth” by industrial and commercial users.

I encourage you to join me in directing the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to study the establishment of both a royalty fee for the consumptive use of water and a royalty fee for water used and returned. The study would examine proposed and successful attempts of other states to assess fees for the use of water; identify the uses to which the fees would apply; estimate the revenue generating potential of the fees; and evaluate how to assess, collect, and manage the proceeds of the royalty fees.

The study would also recommend how the proceeds of the fees might be apportioned among the major watersheds in the Commonwealth and the departments and agencies involved in water quality efforts in Pennsylvania. Examples might be funding for Growing Greener, water quality improvements to meet our Chesapeake Bay and other TMDL requirements and cleanup of our many impaired streams.

Please join me in the pursuit of constructive solutions to meet our constitutional obligation to the citizens of Pennsylvania to provide pure water and to the preserve the natural values of our environment by cosponsoring this Resolution.

Please contact me or my assistant, Chanin Zwing, with any questions at 787-5270 or via e-mail at czwing@pahousegop.com.

Introduced as HR908