HARRISBURG—The House today passed legislation by Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery) to help address ongoing public water and environmental remediation costs and to foster and promote redevelopment of the former Willow Grove Naval Air Station.
“Despite the fact the federal government is responsible for the contamination, local ratepayers and taxpayers have been bearing the costs to remove these harmful contaminants from our public drinking water,” Stephens said. “My legislation creates a way to fund the cleaning of our water while finding a productive use for the former air station property.”
“Rep. Stephens worked tirelessly on behalf of the residents of his district in addressing this growing concern,” House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) said. “It’s an important step in addressing the issue, and if similar situations occur in other communities across the Commonwealth, residents will be able to follow the successful blueprint developed by Rep. Stephens and other members in finding a potential solution.”
House Bill 1410
, which passed with large bipartisan support (144-54), would redirect a portion of state tax revenue generated from the reuse of the former Willow Grove Naval Air Station and some land surrounding it to a newly created municipal authority, which would use the funds to eliminate the local surcharges ratepayers have been paying for clean water; to remediate water contamination caused by the military installation; and for infrastructure to encourage redevelopment of the closed military installation.
For decades, the former Willow Grove Naval Air Station conducted military training exercises using aqueous film-forming foam in firefighter training activities. This foam contained PFAS and contaminated the drinking water supplies in the area. The cost of removing the contaminants has been passed on to ratepayers.
“I believe this is the best way to eliminate the current surcharges to ratepayers and encourage the redevelopment of the Willow Grove Naval Air Station to the benefit of our community and the Commonwealth,” Stephens said.
Representative Todd Stephens
Pennsylvania House of Representatives