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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: May 14, 2024 10:44 AM
From: Representative Martin T. Causer
To: All House members
Subject: Allowing local governments to spread brine to control dust
Controlling dust from roads is a serious issue in many communities throughout Pennsylvania, particularly rural communities with a higher proportion of dirt roads. Numerous studies have demonstrated the serious health risks that can be caused by road dust, which can create air pollution by releasing particulate matter and other pollutants. These pollutants can cause serious health issues such as respiratory and cardiovascular problems.
One of the best ways to handle this issue is to spread a product on unpaved roads to suppress dust and act as a road stabilizer. Local governments own and maintain a large portion of the unpaved roads in Pennsylvania, but the commercial products available as dust suppressants are prohibitively expensive for most municipalities. Because of this, municipalities have long turned to spreading brine from the conventional oil and gas industry. The practice of spreading conventional oil and gas brine for dust suppression was the recommendation of a DEP study published in 1996. Using brine-spreading guidelines described by DEP in that study, municipalities have decades of experience using brine for dust suppression in a safe manner. Municipalities have found brine to be an effective and cost-efficient product.
My legislation will clarify that municipalities are allowed to continue this practice of spreading brine, solely from the conventional industry, not from unconventionally fracked shale wells, on their roads for purposes of controlling dust and stabilizing roads. Under this legislation, municipalities will be limited by guidelines published by DEP in 1996, restricting brine from being spread within 150 feet of a body of water. The practice of utilizing naturally occurring brine for dust suppression, which has occurred for many decades, is a win-win for our constituents from a health perspective and for our municipalities from a fiscal perspective.
Please join me in cosponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB2397