PRINTER'S NO. 779
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
634
Session of
2019
INTRODUCED BY YAW AND LAUGHLIN, MAY 13, 2019
REFERRED TO AGRICULTURE AND RURAL AFFAIRS, MAY 13, 2019
AN ACT
Amending Title 3 (Agriculture) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated
Statutes, in soil and conservation, providing for
Conservation Excellence Grant Program.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. The heading of Part V of Title 3 of the
Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes is amended to read:
PART V
SOIL AND CONSERVATION
[(Reserved)]
Section 2. Part V of Title 3 is amended by adding a chapter
to read:
CHAPTER 31
CONSERVATION EXCELLENCE GRANT PROGRAM
Sec.
3101. Definitions.
3102. Establishment.
3103. Administration of program.
3104. Application guidelines.
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3105. Grants, loans and tax credits.
3106. Project certification.
3107. Criteria for evaluation of applications.
§ 3101. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this chapter
shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Best management practice." A practice or combination of
practices determined by the State Conservation Commission or
United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources
Conservation Service to be effective and practical, considering
technological, economic and institutional factors, to manage
nutrients and sediment to protect surface water and groundwater.
"Commission." The State Conservation Commission established
under section 4 of the act of May 15, 1945 (P.L.547, No.217),
known as the Conservation District Law.
"Program." The Conservation Excellence Grant Program
established under section 3102 (relating to establishment).
"USDA-NRCS." The United States Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service.
§ 3102. Establishment.
The Conservation Excellence Grant Program is established
within the commission.
§ 3103. Administration of program.
The commission shall administer the program for the purpose
of providing technical and financial assistance to farmers and
landowners for the implementation of high-quality best
management practice projects in high-priority locations within
this Commonwealth through a combination of grants, loans and tax
credits as authorized under section 4(7) of the act of May 15,
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1945 (P.L.547, No.217), known as the Conservation District Law.
§ 3104. Application guidelines.
The commission shall establish guidelines for the approval of
applications for eligible projects under the program.
§ 3105. Grants, loans and tax credits.
(a) Awards.--The commission may award grants, loans or tax
credits to applicants for eligible projects that the commission
determines will further the purpose of the program.
(b) Appropriation.--The amount of $2,500,000 is appropriated
to the commission for the purpose of awarding grants under this
section.
(c) Loans.--Loans under this section may be awarded through
the Agriculture-Linked Investment Program or any other loan
program approved by the commission.
(d) Tax credits.--Tax credits under this section may be
awarded through the Resource Enhancement and Protection Tax
Credit Program.
§ 3106. Project certification.
The commission shall ensure that a project satisfies the
requirements of the program in accordance with the following:
(1) Except as provided under paragraph (2), if a
project's best management practice requires review and
certification by a registered professional engineer under the
applicable laws or regulations of this Commonwealth, the best
management practice shall be certified by a registered
professional engineer.
(2) Any other project shall be certified by a technical
service provider, staff from a conservation district or the
USDA-NRCS or any other person who has appropriate training
and expertise and is approved by the commission.
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§ 3107. Criteria for evaluation of applications.
In approving applications for eligible projects under the
program, the commission shall give priority to applications
based upon the following criteria and this order:
(1) Priority locations as follows:
(i) Counties designated by the Department of
Environmental Protection as Tier 1 Chesapeake Bay
counties.
(ii) Counties designated by the Department of
Environmental Protection as Tier 2 and 3 Chesapeake Bay
counties.
(iii) All other counties.
(2) Priority practices as follows:
(i) Livestock exclusion fencing.
(ii) Stream-side buffers.
(iii) Streambank restoration.
(iv) Barnyard and feedlot runoff abatement.
(v) Stream crossings.
(vi) Off-stream watering.
(vii) Manure storage facilities.
(viii) Nutrient management plans and manure
management plans.
(ix) Agricultural erosion and sedimentation plans.
(x) Any other priority practices approved by the
commission.
(3) The level and extent of planning and technical
assistance, including inventory and evaluation, design work,
permits and similar types of assistance, already completed to
allow for accurate estimates of project costs and for
completion of the project in a timely fashion.
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(4) The extent to which an applicant is willing to
accept a reasonable mix of grants, loans and tax credits in
that order, or to supply nongovernmental matching funds for
the project.
(5) Any other criteria as adopted by the commission.
Section 3. This act shall take effect in 60 days.
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