The Clean Power PA Coalition, representing Pennsylvania's environmental, clean energy business and conservation community, today criticized the House State Government Committee for passing Senate Bill 562 (Gordner-R-Columbia), a bill that would give legislators excessive power to intervene in Pennsylvania's regulatory process.
The Coalition, including: PennEnvironment, PennFuture, Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club, issued the following statement regarding Senate Bill 562:
"Senate Bill 562 is an egregious power grab by the Pennsylvania General Assembly to overrule the division of our three independent branches of government, a separation of powers which is crucial to an effective and fair democracy. Pennsylvania's legislature already has the ability to comment, intervene, and engage in the Commonwealth's regulatory process, which has worked effectively for years.
"Senate Bill 562 allows legislators to block critical environmental standards that have broad public support, such as the development of a state plan to tackle climate change or implementing much-needed protections for our families and children from fracking. If approved, Senate Bill 562 would allow any powerful polluter or special interest to wield their immense influence in politics to convince a legislator to put the brakes on a policy that they don't like. Putting this much power into the hands of a few—after the public has had their voice heard and the regulatory process has been properly followed—is undemocratic.
"Senator Bill 562 would also make it more difficult for citizens to learn about and comment on new regulations by no longer requiring the publication of 'Statements of Purpose.' These statements explain in layperson's terms what a proposed regulation will do, and give the public the necessary information and tools to participate in the process around newly proposed regulations.
"We urge the full House to reject Senate Bill 562 because the legislation undermines broad support for critical environmental protections and would allow important information to be hidden from the public."
The Clean Power PA Coalition is a group of clean energy, business, faith, and community leaders committed to protecting Pennsylvania's environment and powering its economy through clean energy.
The coalition includes the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), PennFuture, Clean Air Council, Moms Clean Air Force, PennEnvironment, NextGen Climate America, Conservation Voters of PA, Clean Water Action, Voces Verdes, the Sierra Club, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Audubon Pennsylvania, Physicians for Social Responsibility-Philadelphia and Climate Parents.For more information, visit the Clean Power PA Coalition website.