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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: September 5, 2018 11:38 AM
From: Representative Todd Stephens
To: All House members
Subject: Funding to eliminate local surcharges and for infrastructure to remove contaminants from drinking water near former military installations
In 2006, the federal government closed several military bases around the country, including the Willow Grove Naval Air Station in Horsham Township, Montgomery County, my hometown. As a part of the process to transfer the land, the federal government discovered significant environmental issues including contamination of the public drinking water in Horsham caused by the use of firefighting foam at the military installation.

To protect the public health, Horsham Township has worked to ensure our drinking water has no detectable levels of these contaminants. Despite the fact the federal government is responsible for the contamination, local ratepayers and taxpayers have been bearing the costs to remove these harmful contaminants from our public drinking water. Additionally, these environmental and drinking water issues have delayed the redevelopment of the former military installation. This delay in returning this land to productive use has cost the Commonwealth tax revenue and job opportunities.

I am introducing legislation to help address ongoing public water and environmental remediation costs and to foster and promote redevelopment of the former Willow Grove Naval Air Station. My legislation will also help address ongoing public water and environmental remediation costs in neighboring municipalities.

This legislation redirects state tax revenue resulting from the ultimate development of the former military installation and nearby parcels to the newly created Military Installation Remediation Authority. (MIRA). The MIRA will utilize these funds to eliminate the local surcharge ratepayers are paying to remove contaminants from their water in Horsham and to fund projects to eliminate the contaminants from drinking water in neighboring municipalities. Any remaining funds will be utilized to invest in infrastructure related to environmental remediation or economic development for the former military installation.

This approach will eliminate the current surcharges ratepayers are paying to remove these chemicals from their water, address any issues in neighboring municipalities and help promote the redevelopment of the Willow Grove Naval Air Station to productive use providing jobs and tax revenue for the Commonwealth.

Please join me in cosponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as HB2638