Pennsylvania’s communities face the prospect of dirtier water, higher electricity bills, weakened flood protection, and swarms of biting insects that could potentially carry the deadly West Nile virus under a budget bill proposed and adopted by the Senate Republicans.
Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger said the caucus’ planned $50 million in additional cuts to his department’s budget would have long-term, negative consequences for the state’s natural resources, public health, and economic viability.
“The Senate Republican plan removes funds that help keep sewage out of the land and water, that help our river basin commissions monitor potentially dangerous activities throughout the state, and that fight potentially deadly mosquitoes that could carry the West Nile virus and the bothersome black flies that are such a nuisance each summer,” said Secretary Hanger. “They also cut much-needed funds that help communities protect themselves against floods and that will make it easier for consumers to avoid higher energy costs by installing insulation and windows or by purchasing more energy efficient appliances.”
In this difficult economy, Secretary Hanger acknowledged the budget proposed by Gov. Rendell already proposed $19 million in difficult, but necessary, cuts to the department’s budget. Those reductions, he said , would minimize the risk to Pennsylvania’s prosperity and progress. (click here for full DEP comments) (click here for Senate GOP budget overview.)