Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, June 17, 1995, Image 24

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    A24-UncMt*r Fanning, Saturday, Juna 17, 1995
Managing Editor
Co.) —ln discussion of the
impending legislation that would
split the Dqrartment of Environ
mental Resources (EPA) into two
new departments, Pennsylvania
State Secretary James Seif said the
House had passed the measure 193
to 6 last week, and it was being dis
cussed in Senate committee as he
spoke to the Council of Farm Orga
nizations Monday morning. The
new would be the Depart
ment of Conservation and Natural
Resources (DCNR) and the
Department of Environmental Pro
tection (DEP).
(Editor’s Note: See Vern
Achcnbach’s report on the back
ground and update of this “split up”
legislative activity.)
Seif said his department needed
to work on attitudes and gave three
principles that are to be incorpor-
State Legislators Reorganize Environmental Government
Lancaster Farming Staff
Co.) The state Legislature is
expected to soon approve legisla
tion that would reorganize cabinet
level agencies that administer
environmental law.
Provisions in the reorganization
plan actually have several implica
tions for agriculture.
The action is a fulfillment of
Gov. Tom Ridge’s campaign
promise to narrow the responsibili
ties of the state Department of
Environmental Resources (DER),
and create a separate cabinet-level
department that would deal with
the state’s forests, parks and other
natural resources.
House Bill 1400, wilh 73 co
sponsors in the House, has been
approved twice on the full Senate
flow, having received, as of Thurs
day, only two minor amendments
that correct language.
Though nothing in state politics
is certain, the bill is expected to
receive approval on third consider
ation before the Senate (possibly
this coming week), receive concur
rence from the House on the
amendments, and be signed into
law by the governor.
As written, the law would go
into effect July 1, if the governor
The proposed law would be
called the Conservation and Natur
al Resources Act to reflect the crea
tion of a new state department The
governor would appoint a secret
ary of conservation and natural
resources to oversee the
The gist of the proposal is not
complicated, though specifics may
be for those not familiar with the
structure of state government.
Basically, the 70-page proposal
is to create a new department that
would take over control of the
state’s forests, state parks, recrea
tional and heritage programs, and
inventory and manage the state’s
natural resources.
The name of the new department
would be the Department of Con
servation and Natural Resources
At the same time, a much
trimmed DER would be renamed
to the Department of Environmen
tal Protection (DEP) and focus on
enforcement, though with a direc
tive to work with citizens and
industry to achieve a safe and
Secretary Seif Speaks Of The New
Farmer Friendly DER
ated into DER or the subsequent
departments as the new way to'
work with farmers. The principles
Seif proposed are:
• Moderation; problem solving
rather than only enforcement
• Integrity: to include intellectu
al, political and scientific integrity.
• Communication: work with ag
advisory boards to get input for
what is practical. “I dunk in com
munication we have a very solid
framework between the admins tra
tion and the agricultural communi
ty that goes way back to Tom
Ridge’s earliest campaign days,”
Seif said.
Wetlands have become an
agricultural/environmental topic
that has many farmers and deve
lopers at odds with DER. “We
looked early on at the wetlands
program, and we confirmed what
you have been saying,” Seif said.
“A lot of it was not consistent with
the federal program. We have too
healthy environment
Three other state departments
would be affected if the proposal is
made law.
The Department of Community
Affairs’ Bureau of Recreation and
Conservation would become a
DCNR bureau.
The Department of Health
would pick up several responsibili
ties concerning living conditions
and public health that had been
DER’s purview.
The Department of Agriculture
would pick up responsibility for
enforcing the Seasonal Farm Labor
More specifically, the DCNR
would assume all the responsibili
ties and people and funds previous
ly allocated to DER for the man
agement, administration and reg
ulation of of the forest and park
bureaus, as well as picking up
responsibility for community
recreation and heritage conserva
tion programs that were previously
assigned to the state Department of
Community Affairs.
The proposal would also
empower the DCNR to commis
sion officers who would have regu
lar police powers to ”... preserve
order in the state parks and state
forests ...”
According to the proposal, its
intent is to ”... create a new Depart
ment of Conservation and Natural
Resources to serve as a cabinet
level advocate for out state parks,
forests, rivers, trails, greenways
and community recreation and her
itage conservation programs to
provide more focused manage
ment of the commonwealth’s
recreation, natural and river
“The primary mission... will be
to manage state forest lands to
assure their long-term health, sus
tainability and economic use, to
provide information on Pennsylva
nia’s ecological and geologic
resources and to administer grant
and technical assistance programs
...” that help it achieve its role as
advocate for the state’s natural
The reason for these proposed
changes are many, but more or less
add up to the fact that DER has
become too large, unfocused and
underfunded to take proper care of
the forests, park systems and other
resources of the state, in addition to
handling the wide spectrum of
environmental concerns that exist
many disputes and discussions
over very minor issues. We discov
ered that 80 percent of our permit
applications ugolved wetlands of
less than a half acre. And there was
no organization to help match wet
lands replacement projects with
land owners who desired to have
such projects.”
Because of these problems Seif
said the following proposals are at
the lop of his agenda:
1. Slate regulations will be con
sistent with federal requirements
using the 1987 manual.
2. Converted wetlands into agri
cultural production prior to 1985
that are still in production shall be
exempt from wetlands regulations.
3. A voluntary registery of land
owners that have created wetlands
on their property shall be kept. The
registry will be made available to
permit applicants and organiza
tions seeking available sites for
wetlands projects.
today, such as nuclear waste, reac
tors, heavy metals, air pollution
devices, toxic waste, wastewater
and water treatment, storm water
runoff, landfills, solid waste, etc.
A long list of “findings”
included in the proposal outline the
deficiencies in giving proper atten
tion to the state’s natural resources.
There has also been a political
effort to get state government to
help develop some of the apparent
economic potential inherent in the
state’s resources.
The proposal acknowledges that
the tourism and recreation industry
is the second largest, next to agri
culture, in the state.
Given the proximity of the state
to the heavily populated East Coast
cities (practically one continuous
megalopolis), it is considered that
the potential to boost this industry
is great and would mean economic
growth in many areas of the state,
as well as benefiting the living con
ditions here.
Support for the proposal is
strong and has been growing for
some time the fust secretary of
DER, Maurice Goddard, had
called for the division of DER
about 10 years ago.
The current secretary of DER
has also been an outspoken suppor
ter of the idea.
Initially, current regulations will
stay the same, until the new agen
cies have opportunity to review
and revise them.
At another level, the proposed
change also eliminates the Pen
nsylvania Energy Office and gives
the new DEP responsibility over
energy conservation, assistance
and alternative fuels.
Meanwhile, the Department of
Health is to lake ov» DER powers
and duties in the control of nui
sances from grounds, vehicles,
apartments, buildings and places
within this (sic)Commonwealth, to
the sanitary condition of tene
ments. lodging and boarding
houses, to management of the
sanitary affairs of this Common
wealth, the issuance of waterworks
permits and to the control of water
The Health Department would
also take over annual ”... registra
tion of organized camps for child
ren, youth and adults ...” and the
Public Bathing Law.
Conservation Commission
Abo contained in HBI4OO is a
4. Permit requirements shall be
simplified. He proposes a general
permit to allow the filling of up to
half an acre of wetlands for the
construction of homes within
established subdivisions. Applic
ants would contribute to the
National Fish and Wildlife Found
ation at a prescribed rate so that
imporvements can be brought
about in real existing valuable wet
lands rather than mud puddles.
This should be done to gain the
benefit of wetlands throughout the
state without dickering over five
tenths of an acre.
5. Make wetlands replacement
and improvements easier and more
affective. Seifs goal is to create
more wetlands than the law
6. Create a wetlands manage
ment advisory board of 16 mem
bers appointed by the deputy sec
retary for water management.
Proposed members are to come,
four from business/industry; four
proposal to cut some of the strings
that DER had to the State Conser
vation Commission (SCC).
This proposal comes directly as
a result of some political uneasi
ness about the state Nutrient Man
agement Act Under the act, the
SCC is to serve as the enforcement
There has been some concern
that with the relationships between
the SCC and DER, that enforce
ment of the nutrient management
act might come with too much
input from environmental protec
tion .advocates.
The prime mover for this addi
tion to the proposal comes from
Lancaster Rep. John Barley, who
had earlier called for the SCC to be
transferred to PDA entirely.
However, while that met with
resistance from many political
entities including agriculture, the
current proposal has been widely
approved, except for a few objec
tions from strong environmental
This proposal would modify
slightly the SCC, in that the chair
manship of die commission would
no longer be given automatically to
the secretary of DER (in the future
Instead, the state secretary of
agriculture would share those
duties, with the two secretaries
alternating chairmanship annually.
The staff of the SCC currendy is
comprised of DER employees.
That would change with the execu
tive secretary of SCC not being
connected to either DEP or PDA.
Further, PDA would be directed
Honors With Beef
CLAYTON, NJ.—Two young
Salem County brothers, Tim and
Grant Coleman, and their
crossbred steers took top honors at
the South Jersey Beef Show held
at Mullica Hill on May 13.
Tim, of Elmer, was awarded
grand champion, while brother
Grant won reserve champion. The
Colemans, along with other young
cattlemen and cattlewomen from
all over New Jersey, fitted and
showed their steers and heifers at
the annual preview show'designed
to allow youth to work their ani
mal for the first time this season.
Other winners included: oymi
Dixon of Bapdatown—Grand Champion Aagui
Haifar and Raaarva Champion Angua Star; Brit-
from environmental groups; four
from slate and local governments;
two from federal government; and
two citizens. Ag groups took issue
with the make-up of this board
because it contained no specific
agricultural representatives.
7. Work with the State Depart
ment of Transportation to establish
advance wetland compensation
sites to satisfy the mitigation
requirements for unavoidable wet
land impacts resulting from con
struction and maintenance
“Our purpose is to protect on a
long term basis real wetlands and
create more real wetlands.” Seif
said. “Wetlands do have environ
mental value, but we also want to
make sure business, agriculture,
and landowners can meet regula
tion requirements without going
broke. I hope these items have your
attention and that you will help us
to get them right and implement
them into an effective program.
to support the sex: in with enforce
ment of laws when dealing with
production agriculture.
According to the proposal, ”...
the secretary of agriculture shall
designate an office and staff within
that agency to coordinate and assist
in the development, implementa
tion and enforcement of programs
adopted by the (SCQ that solely
affect production agriculture."
Not only that, but that PDA
office and staff are to act as advo
cate for production agriculture “...
in the development of programs by
the (SCC), assist in developing
methods of managing excess man
ure in an environmentally sound
manner, develop programs to assist
those engaged in production agri
culture to comply with the Nutrient
Management Act and act as an
ombudsman to help resolve issues
related to county conservation dis
trict implementation of (SCC)
programs solely affecting produc
tion agriculture.”
At the same time, the secretary
of DEP is designate its own office
and staff to help the SCC with mat
ters concerning the protection of
surface and groundwater.
Further, as the SCC enforces the
Nutrient Management Act, when
violations are discovered that are
violations of the state’s Clean
Streams Law then the DEP office
and staff are to assist the SCC.
When any other types of possi
ble violations are discovered in the
course of enforcing the Nutrient
Management Act, PDA’s desig
nated office is to assist the SCC.
Win Top
■any Dixon of Baptiitown—Raaarve Champion
Angua Heifar, Shaun Burger of Pitman—Orand
Champion Polled Hereford Heifer, April Daley
of Frenehtown—Reaarve Champion Polled
Hereford Heifer, Orand Coleman of Elmer—
Grand Champion Simmental Heifer and Overall
Orand Champion Heifer; Tom Capecci of
Franklinvilla—Orand Champion Simmental
Steer, Amende Sylveeter of Willume town—
Reeerve Champion Simmental Steer, April Daley
of Frenehtown—Grand Champion Polled Here
ford Steer; Roae Marie Sylveeter of
Williamatown—Grand Champion Angua Steer,
Showmanahip in the Older A Bolder Diviaion
waa won by Mr. Denny Date of Monroeville. Ri
ling A Showmanahip Diviaion: Kevin Biaop of
Elmer—Junior Fitting A Showmanahip; Briny
Dixon of Bapiiatown—2nd Plaoa- Junior Fining
A Showmanahip; Cryatal Dixon of Bapliaiown—
Intermediate Fitting A Showmanahip; Shaun
Buiger of Pitman—2nd Race - Intermediate Ri
ling A Showmanahip; Grand Coleman of
Elmar—Senior Riling A Showmaruhip; Steve
Buiger of Pitman—2nd Place - Senior Fining A