VOTE NO on House Bill 1565 and the accompanying Miller Amendment

Analysis of House Bill 1565 provided by: Clean Water Action, Delaware River Keeper Network, Sierra Club

House bill 1565 stipulates the following:

  • Riparian buffers are no longer required for special protection streams
  • Riparian buffers are declared as optional in a series of Best Management Practices (BMP) for all streams

150 ft. vegetated riparian buffers – as currently required for High Quality and Exceptional Value Streams under Chapter 102 of the Clean Streams Law – offer benefits that other BMPs do not:

  • Vegetation prevents erosion and stream downcutting that itself can become a source of pollution and degradation for a stream;
  • Vegetated buffers provide the necessary level of sharing to protect streams from thermal pollution;
  • Vegetated buffers support the instream aquatic ecosystem that can break down and remove pollution from a waterway, provides a holding area for high flood waters so it protects downstream communities, while offering a place for waters to be absorbed and infiltrate thereby reducing flood peaks, and ensuring structures are not built so close to the stream that they can become the subject of damaging floodwaters;
  • Allowing development too close to a stream is not just a source of pollution but it removes the healthy ecological structure necessary to support the streams.

Miller Amendment (9397)

  • Allows the developer the chance to pick other best management options
  • Projects in special protection watersheds have to offset any reduction in the buffer with an additional buffer elsewhere in the same drainage basin.
  • The amendment offers too many loopholes and fails to fulfill proper protections.

Clean Water Action, Sierra Club, and Delaware Riverkeeper Network urge Legislators to VOTE NO on House Bill 1565 and the accompanying Miller Amendment.

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