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Coudersport, PA 16915
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Kane, PA 16735
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Ag Committee Endorses Causer Resolution Calling for Audit of PENNVEST Transactions
HARRISBURG – The House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee today approved a resolution, sponsored by Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint), calling for a thorough audit of more than 100 nonpoint source management transactions approved by the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST).

The resolution, which was introduced in response to questions about the agency’s approval of nearly $51 million in loans to a private company to help finance the purchase of 60,000 acres of private forest land, passed unanimously.

“The overwhelming support for the resolution clearly demonstrates the widespread concern of lawmakers from across the state about these transactions and whether they are an appropriate or lawful use of PENNVEST funds,” Causer said. “As lawmakers, we have a responsibility to ensure our taxpayer dollars are being used appropriately.”

Among the concerns raised by legislators is that PENNVEST was created to invest in water and sewer infrastructure projects across the state, and there are many municipalities with crumbling infrastructure systems that could use financial help. They also questioned what is the public’s return on investment in offering this low-interest loan, and whether the transactions are permissible under current law.

To help address these and other questions, House Resolution 948 would request the auditor general conduct a financial audit of all nonpoint source program projects approved by the PENNVEST board of directors and submit a report of the audit to the House of Representatives upon completion. While there have been more than 100 such transactions approved by PENNVEST, the $51 million in loans to Lyme Timber Company to purchase private land, is the first of its kind in the Commonwealth.

The Lyme Timber transactions were approved by PENNVEST at meetings last fall and in January, with the funding being loaned at an interest rate of just 1 percent. As part of the transactions, Lyme Timber will complete a small acid mine drainage project on the property at a cost of about $700,000. The company also agreed to place approximately 9,400 acres of the land into a permanent working forest conservation easement.

As chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, Causer called a public meeting at the state Capitol in March to gather more information about the transactions from officials with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and PENNVEST, as well as concerned land owners and timber operators. However, many questions remain.

The resolution now goes to the House for further consideration.

Representative Martin T. Causer
67th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Patricia A. Hippler
717.772.9846 /

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