Last week, we featured a story about the proposed regulations about septic systems in Pennsylvania.
The proposal comes from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and could have a devastating impact on construction in our region.
For the most part, the story was given high marks by local officials who are very concerned about these new regulations.
However, we did get a little criticism about the story which said there wasn't any background as to why those regulations were put into place.
Though it is a complicated matter, and involves a myriad of regulations, there does seem to be a reason for the madness.
That reason is a lawsuit which was leveled against DEP and involved a subdivision in Berks County. That is located in the Reading area.
Because DEP lost the lawsuit, the agency was forced to pay attorney fees and then made the move to propose changing regulations for septic systems.
We have outlined all of this on today's front page with an in-depth story.
Because of this situation, Rep. Mike Peifer raised a huge point with Mike Krancer, secretary of the DEP.
Peifer wanted to know when the state was going to start standing up to court judgments because, in Peifer's opinion, the rules which are now in place are adequate.
Krancer, who himself has been mired in controversy in the past for off the cuff remarks made in Wayne County, admitted that sometimes, rule making is based on lawsuit results.
That makes some sense, however, in this case it seems to go to the extreme.
Because of a lawsuit focusing on a small subdivision, the DEP made the move to make radical changes and then formally propose them to become law.
Peifer argues there has to come a time when the state decides to allocate the funds to fight such lawsuits. He thinks state departments have to stop making rules based on court cases, at least in some cases.
In this case in particular, he thinks the DEP has the proper regulations in place.
Local officials agree and believe if the new regulations are eventually made into the rules, it could greatly harm an already shaky economy in northeastern Pennsylvania.
They are almost certainly right.
Things are tough enough in our neck of the woods and the recovery seems to be very slow.
There are some positive signs when it comes to real estate transfers and some of the job numbers are improving.
However, a lot of the economy in this area is stagnant and these new regulations could have a harmful impact on the future economy.
Page 2 of 2 - It could impact construction greatly. That, in turn, impacts employment.
If you think about it, construction impacts everything. If construction slows down, so do purchases at local businesses. That means there are less opportunities for employment at those businesses.
The impacts continue to spiral downhill.
The most important thing local residents can do when it comes to this proposal is get educated. You may end up agreeing they need to be implemented, and that's fine, but get educated before making a decision.
Wayne County Commissioner Brian Smith is leading the charge when it comes to this issue. We're sure he'd like to hear from you about this issue.
We also want to tip our hat to Peifer for bringing up this issue during a budget hearing in Harrisburg. At least he planted the seed with state officials and now the public needs to water that seed.