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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 10, 2017 09:57 AM
From: Representative Rosemary M. Brown
To: All House members
Subject: Private Dam Financial Assurance Program
According to new Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regulations, private dam owners are required to have a financial responsibility tool (either surety or collateral bonds, etc.) in place in the event their dam would need to be breached.

Although this protects our Commonwealth, it is impossible for many of these private dam owners to obtain bonds based on the makeup of their organizations, which often include home owner’s associations (HOAs). Often times, Financial institutions do not consider these organizations to be stable enough to receive bond coverage
Over the past 2 years, I have been working with private dam owners across the state who are facing this issue, (DEP), and other departments to understand this problem and develop and alternative solution to comply with these regulations. Accordingly, I am proposing that a Private Dam Financial Assurance Program be established to offer financial assurance for the private owners so they may meet the financial obligations imposed under the Dam Safety and Encroachment Act.

The program is self-funded with dam owners paying a one-time registration fee of $1000 in addition to an annual fee equal to 1% of the bond amount required by DEP. In addition, as this fund grows to reach $1.5 million, DCED shall use it to establish a loan program to help these dam owners make necessary repairs to prevent breaching in the future.

Finally, it is important to note that as the safety of our public is a priority, participants in this program will be required to be in compliance with related DEP regulations and inspections, including a current approved Emergency Action Plan.

This legislation, former HB 1712, passed the House last session by a vote of 195-1. Previous cosponsors were: BOBACK, D. COSTA, HEFFLEY, MAJOR, MILLARD, D. PARKER, PICKETT, TALLMAN, WATSON, GILLEN, CARROLL, DUSH, ZIMMERMAN, ORTITAY, TOPPER, M. K. KELLER, JOZWIAK, BARBIN, DAY and MOUL.

Thank you in advance for your consideration and co-sponsorship of this very important and time sensitive legislation for private dam owners in your districts.

Introduced as HB431