HARRISBURG, Pa. (WETM) — A package of bills spearheaded by Representatives Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) and Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna) was advanced today by the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.

The package of bills aims to allow local Pennsylvania governments the ability to maintain streams and creeks in order to prevent flooding.

House Bill 2404 proposed by Owlett, is said to allow local government organizations to apply for a permit for continuing maintenance for a period of at least 10 years for the streams within their jurisdiction. This permit would grant an affirmative duty to the local government entity to properly maintain the streams and would not require the local government to get pre-approval for maintenance projects.

House Bill 2405 proposed by Pickett, would create a program that allows counties to opt in to address hazards within their streams by allowing for emergency maintenance permits in consultation with their county conservation district. This program is modeled after a pilot project in Bradford County.

Owlett said. about the bills, “Thanks to the impassioned and impactful testimony provided by Northern Tier officials, landowners, and farmers before the House Majority Policy Committee late last year and this committee last month, we have taken a major step forward today with the approval of these bills,”