|Posted:||April 3, 2018 03:36 PM|
|From:||Representative Kristin Hill|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Amending the Agricultural Security Area Law|
|In the near future, I intend to introduce legislation which amends the Agricultural Security Area Law to strengthen protections of our agricultural lands while applying provisions and procedures equally on entities across the Commonwealth.
Under current law, Pennsylvania protects areas of prime agricultural soils and sensitive features from being lost to development by establishing Agricultural Security Areas (ASA) across the Commonwealth. An ASA offers protections to a community of farmers and landowners from unnecessary regulations and the practice of public taking of land without due process. These protections require entities who would like to take land in an ASA to follow the criteria and procedures of obtaining approval through the Agricultural Lands Condemnation Board (ALCB). This board is represented by the Departments of Agriculture, Environmental Protection and Transportation, the Governor’s Office and two farmers approved by the General Assembly who hear cases and decide if the project should be granted approval for the condemnation of land.
However, there are currently exemptions in state law for entities which obtain approval through the Public Utility Commission (PUC). My legislation simply requires these entities to follow the same process as other agencies of the Commonwealth and private businesses who wish to take land from farmers within an ASA. The ALCB, not the PUC has representatives who understand current farming practices and the issues facing agriculture. It is only fair that these important agricultural areas are represented in due process by farmers and members of the agricultural community, not law judges removed from agriculture.
Our prime agricultural soils are some of the most fertile and precious resources in the country which we have the privilege of bequeathing future generations. I hope you will join me in supporting this important piece of legislation for the benefit of our farmers and agricultural communities. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Galen Weibley email@example.com
Introduced as HB2607