- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 14, 2014

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The Pennsylvania state Senate has passed a bill that would overhaul rules requiring 150-foot buffers between construction and the edges of high-quality waterways.

The bill passed, 27-22, and heads to the state House, which passed a similar version last month.

Under the bill amending Pennsylvania’s Clean Streams Law, builders could comply with pollution laws by using another unspecified method that has the equivalent pollution-control effect of a 150-foot buffer.

Republican Sen. Lisa Baker of Luzerne County says the 150-foot buffer is making it too difficult for many people in northeastern Pennsylvania to build on their properties. She also says the 150-foot buffer distance is an arbitrary figure.

Opponents say it will unleash new housing developments to the detriment of clean drinking water, ecosystems and flood protection.

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