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Rep. Cartwright Secures $3.5 Million for Stormwater Infrastructure Improvements in Interior & Environment Appropriations Bill

Rep. Cartwright Also Won Funding Increases for Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation and the Chesapeake Bay Program in FY2022 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill

Wilkes-Barre, PA – U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (PA-08) today announced that the Interior & Environment Appropriations Subcommittee approved its fiscal year 2022 funding bill yesterday evening, and it released its report that included his $3.5 million Community Project Funding (CPF) request to support stormwater infrastructure improvements in the Wyoming Valley. Additional benefits for Northeastern Pennsylvania in the funding bill include a $50 million increase for abandoned mine land reclamation in Appalachian states and a $3 million increase for the Chesapeake Bay Program, which also supports stormwater infrastructure projects.

Next, the full Appropriations Committee will review the bill and incorporate the report during a markup on Thursday, July 1. After full committee review, it will move to the House floor for a vote.

The $3.5 million stormwater infrastructure project is sponsored by the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority (WVSA), and it will support their Warrior Creek Stream Restoration and Abrahams Creek MS4 Stream Restoration & Creek Street Stormwater Basin Retrofit projects. It will address stormwater management and achieve the goals of reducing sediment and nutrient loads under Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) regulations.

“It’s my goal to get the federal government to contribute as much as possible toward our legal obligations on stormwater runoff reduction. Over time, that’s the only way we can reduce the burden on our homeowners,” said Rep. Cartwright. “That’s why I worked hard to advocate for this major $3.5 million investment for stormwater improvements on behalf of the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority. This will go a long way to protecting the water quality in the Susquehanna River watershed for years to come.”

“Stormwater green infrastructure projects have a direct impact on improving water quality in our local streams, the Susquehanna River, and the Chesapeake Bay, as well as achieving compliance with state and federal stormwater pollutant reduction goals,” said James B. Tomaine, PE, Executive Director, Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority. “Federal funding for these types of infrastructure projects remains inherently valuable to our Regional Stormwater Management Program (RSMP) and the communities it serves.”

The fiscal year 2022 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies appropriations bill also includes the following priorities for Northeastern Pennsylvania for which Rep. Cartwright advocated:

  • $165 million for Abandoned Mine Land reclamation funds for Appalachian states, a $50 million increase over fiscal year 2021.
  • $90.5 million for the Chesapeake Bay Program, a $3 million increase over fiscal year 2021 and fully funding the program up to its limit.
  • $12.5 million for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program, a $2.5 million increase over fiscal year 2021
  • Reauthorization of the National Heritage Areas (NHAs) and $27 million for the National Heritage Partnership program, a $3 million increase over fiscal year 2021.
    • Pennsylvania’s Eighth Congressional District is home to the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority and Delaware & Lehigh NHAs. NHAs are partnerships among the National Park Service (NPS), states, and local communities, in which the NPS supports state and local conservation and economic development through federal recognition, seed money and technical assistance. They remain in state, local, or private ownership or a combination thereof, and are supported by grants from the federal government and other sources, which can support job-creating projects and businesses.

“The lion's share of unreclaimed abandoned mine lands and stream miles polluting our coalfield communities remain in the Appalachian Region. These additional funds will allow for an increase in both the number of acres to be reclaimed and stream miles that can be restored while we are still advocating for the passage of the RECLAIM Act and Reauthorization of the Abandoned Mine Land Trust Fund before September of this year,” said Bobby Hughes, Executive Director of the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (EPCAMR). “These sites need to continue to be looked at as the new economic development opportunity areas for clean energy projects, manufacturing facilities, warehouse distribution centers, recreational trails, waterways, outdoor centers, and ecotourism destinations, all of which will create local jobs as many of the communities are in the midst of a transition away from resource extraction.”

“The investments in this funding bill will be good for our economy, our community’s health and our environment. I’m grateful for the subcommittee’s work on this bill and I’m ready to get to work to enact it and ensure Northeastern Pennsylvania gets its fair share of funding,” said Rep. Cartwright.