CFA Awards $ 2.25 Million to Sen. Blake’s 22nd District

Flood control funding in Jermyn and Natural Gas Fueling Station in Lackawanna County along with other municipal projects.

SCRANTON, Oct. 21, 2014 – State Sen. John Blake’s advocacy helped secure $385,000 for a flood mitigation project in Jermyn Borough and nearly half a million dollars from the commonwealth to continue the remediation of the Old Forge borehole.

The Commonwealth Financing Authority approved the latest round of investments in Blake’s 22nd Senatorial District. The CFA also green-lighted $1.25 million to help Constellation New Energy build a public access CNG fueling station, and another $125,000 for projects in Jefferson Township, Moscow Borough and at West Scranton High School.

“Today’s round of funding will allow us to take the next step in addressing one of the worst sources of pollution in the Lackawanna River and Chesapeake Bay watersheds.” Blake said today following CFA’s approval of the new investments.

“Also, today’s announcement should bring reassurance to residents in flood-prone Jermyn Borough that much-needed flood control improvements will be implemented,” he said. Blake wanted to acknowledge members of the Northeast House Democratic delegation, all of whom were strong advocates for these funding awards. Blake also wanted to express thanks to the Lackawanna County commissioners for their support on behalf of Jermyn Borough.

The $492,821 grant to Susquehanna Mining Solutions will allow the company to begin baseline site work as it prepares to build its acid mine drainage treatment facility.

Iron oxide from the Old Forge borehole, which was drilled in 1962 to release water that had pooled in underground mines, has turned the Lackawanna River orange. The 80 million gallons of water it discharges each day into the river ends up in the Chesapeake Bay.

The $1.25 million Alternative and Clean Energy Program grant to Constellation New Energy will result in a compressed natural gas, or CNG, fueling station near interstates 81, 84 and 380.

Constellation is paying the balance of the cost of construction, or $1,875,884.

The Commonwealth Financing Authority also approved the following grants today:

  • $385,000 to Lackawanna County Commissioners for a flood mitigation project in Jermyn Borough,
  • $76,683 to Jefferson Township for the construction of walking and hiking trails for the community’s only publicly owned park,
  • $24,650 to the WSHS Courtyard Fund for a courtyard beautification project at West Scranton High School, and
  • $24,000 to Moscow Sewer Authority so it may update its Act 537 sewage facilities plan.

“When Rush Brook flooded in 2003, it damaged 70 homes and businesses,” Blake said. “The county’s $385,000 flood mitigation project will enable Jermyn Borough to undertake local project responsibilities that will enable the state to construct flood control improvements that will help keep Rush Brook in its banks and better protect Jermyn against storms.”

Flood protection will come from a new hybrid channel and concrete block wall. Five of the seven bridges along Rush Brook will also be replaced with box culverts and a levee will protect the low-lying area near River Street.

The Commonwealth Financing Authority is an independent agency of the commonwealth that is designed to administer Pennsylvania’s economic stimulus packages. CFA holds fiduciary responsibility over the funding of programs and investments.

CFA’s next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 14 in Harrisburg.

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Blake Joins Colleagues to Announce Flood Relief Legislation

Sen Blake speaks at flood relief news conference

HARRISBURG, September 19, 2011 – – State Sen. John P. Blake today joined a bipartisan group of state senators to announce a legislative package aimed at helping Pennsylvania residents recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.

“The amount of damage caused and the number of lives affected by this catastrophe is overwhelming,” Blake said. “I knew, and my colleagues knew, that we needed to step up to try to help those families who lost so much in these recent flooding events. This package of bills will supplement the considerable amount of federal aid already making its way to flood victims and make available much-needed state assistance so that families, small businesses and entire communities within federally declared disaster areas can begin to recover.  We are hopeful for swift passage of this bipartisan legislative package.”

In Blake’s 22nd legislative district, the Borough of Duryea was devastated by record flooding surpassing the levels of Hurricane Agnes in 1972. While the river has receded, the cleanup and rebuilding process is only now beginning.  The destruction in Duryea was so extensive that Vice President Joe Biden visited Chittenden Street to tour the damage and speak with residents.

Blake commended Duryea Mayor Keith Moss; the PA National Guard; local Emergency Management personnel; and the hundreds of volunteers who came out to assist their neighbors in need.  He also noted that due to Duryea flooding, the Lower Lackawanna Sanitary Authority, servicing 35,000 residents from six municipalities, was still without full operating power as of this morning and students from Holy Rosary School in Duryea remain at St. Mary’s School in Avoca.

The package of legislation announced at today’s news conference included bills that would:

  • establish a restricted account in the State Treasury to provide additional state grant monies to individuals and families based on income eligibility and damage losses;
  • authorize $250 million for the state share of flood-related highway and bridge rehabilitation projects;
  • allow local taxing bodies to abate real estate taxes for properties substantially affected by the flood;
  • authorize a county-by-county list of highway, bridges, flood control and hazard mitigation projects for state Capital Budget funding; and
  • give the Secretary of Education the authority to waive certain requirements for public and non-public schools substantially damaged by the flood.

Blake was joined at the news conference by Senators John Yudichak (D-Plymouth Township), John Gordner (R- Berwick), Lisa Baker (R-Lehman Township) and Gene Yaw (R-Loyalsock Township).

Blake Encourages Luzerne Co. Residents to Act Quickly in Applying for Federal Flood Relief

HARRISBURG, September 13, 2011 – – State Sen. John P. Blake today encouraged all Luzerne County residents affected by last week’s flooding to act quickly and apply for federal assistance.

Earlier today, President Barack Obama made an emergency declaration for 19 Pennsylvania counties, including Luzerne County, which were devastated by flooding brought on by Tropical Storm Lee. This declaration allows federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts to flood victims.

“President Obama’s disaster declaration will certainly provide a greater deal of financial assistance for families affected by the flooding as their painful cleanup and recovery process continues,” Blake said. “Families around NEPA saw their homes ruined and their precious and personal valuables destroyed in the flood, it is now more important than ever to band together to help them get back on their feet.”

Lackawanna County was not included in President Obama’s emergency declaration. To substantiate inclusion in such disaster declarations counties must experience a very high threshold of dollar value damages as well as a very large number of homes affected. 

Blake said that this federal assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured or underinsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and businesses.

Residents and businesses in Luzerne County that sustained flood damage may be available for aid through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  To qualify for aid, victims must first register with FEMA either online at www.disasterassistance.gov or by phone at 1-800-621-3362.

A Disaster Recovery Center will be established at Luzerne County Community College, 1333 S. Prospect Street in Nanticoke beginning tomorrow at 10 a.m.

Blake said that constituents are welcome to contact his district offices with any questions about the declaration or flood assistance.  More information on flood assistance available through the state and federal government is available online at www.senatorblake.com.

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