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Friday, April 17, 2015

Capitol Update by Rep. Martin Causer

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Capitol Update
Friday, April 17, 2015 The latest news from the State Capitol

Honoring Specialist Donald Stiles

Thank you to everyone who came out for the dedication of the Specialist Donald Stiles Memorial Bridge in Coudersport on Thursday. It was an honor to pay tribute to this young man who died serving our country in Vietnam. It was also wonderful to see so much support from his family members and the community!


Public Hearings Announced for Oil and Gas Regulations

The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced this week it will hold three public hearings on the latest draft of proposed regulations for the conventional and unconventional oil and gas industries.

The hearing closest to our area will be held on Thursday, April 30, from 6-9 p.m. at the Warren County Courthouse, 204 Fourth Ave., Warren.

Those who wish to present testimony during the hearing are asked to register in advance by contacting the DEP Policy Office at 717-783-8727. Individuals will be called to testify in the order they registered. If time permits at the hearing, those who did not register in advance will be given the opportunity to testify.

Each speaker will have the opportunity to present up to five minutes of verbal testimony. To ensure that all speakers have a fair and equal opportunity to present their testimony, relinquishing of time to other speakers will be prohibited, and groups are asked to designate one speaker. All presenters should bring three copies of their comments and exhibits for submission to DEP.

Those who prefer to present their comments in writing or who are unable to attend one of the hearings may submit written testimony online or by e-mail to You may also send comments to DEP Policy Office, 400 Market St., P.O. Box 2063, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2063. Comments must be received by May 19. A subject heading of the rulemaking, the commentator’s full name, and a return address must be included in each comment submission.

To read DEP’s full press release, including information about the other two hearings, click here

Bill Aims to Bring More ATV, Snowmobile Riding Opportunities

I recently reintroduced legislation designed to bring fairness and accountability to the collection and distribution of funds for ATV- and snowmobile-riding opportunities in the Commonwealth.

House Bill 970 would direct the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) to maintain separate ATV management and snowmobile management accounts to ensure an equitable distribution of those funds. DCNR is currently unable to identify how much it spends on ATV trails versus snowmobile trails, but there are significantly more riding opportunities for snowmobiles than for ATVs on public lands.

Based on testimony offered at a public hearing on the bill last year, it is clear that DCNR needs to do a far better job of providing opportunities for both ATV and snowmobile riders. Holding the agency accountable for how funds are spent is an important step in the right direction.

The bill was referred to the House Tourism and Recreational Development Committee for consideration.

The Quest for Tax Fairness

Check out my opinion-editorial piece about land tax fairness, which was published in the Bradford Era earlier this week.

Got Your Fishing Poles Ready?

Saturday marks the start of trout season across the Commonwealth. Best of luck to all the anglers out there as you take to the waters!

If you’re a fan of technology, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has unveiled a smartphone app which provides information on trout stocking and access to fishing locations. The app uses a phone’s GPS coordinates to display locations within 5, 15, 25 and 50 miles away. It also includes a link that allows anglers to find licensing agents near them and a feature to share photos of their catch.

The app is available for free on both Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store. 

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