Thursday, May 5, 2016

House Bill Would Change Make-Up Of Environmental Quality Board

Rep. Cris Dush (R-Indiana) circulated a co-sponsor memo to his colleagues this week asking them to co-sponsor his bill to expand the Environmental Quality Board to 23 members, remove the DEP Secretary as Chair of the Board and double the number of members from or appointed by the House and Senate.
The Environmental Quality Board adopts all regulations for the Department of Environmental Protection like DEP’s final drilling regulations now before the General Assembly..
Rep. Dush would add the Majority and Minority Chairs of the House and Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committees, change the existing four appointments made by House and Senate leadership from being legislators to any member of the public they appoint and remove the Secretary of DEP as Chair and instead select a Chair from members of the Board.
The Board would retain the 5 members from DEP’s Citizens Advisory Council and representatives of the departments of Health, Community & Economic Development, Transportation, Agriculture and Labor & Industry, the Fish & Boat and Game Commissions, Public Utility Commission, Director of the PA Historical & Museum Commission and the Executive Director of the State Planning Board.
There is no doubt this legislation was prompted by Rep. Dush’s opposition to DEP’s final drilling regulations.
Last week a budget amendment filed by Rep. Cris Dush (R-Indiana) would have allocated $600,000 in taxpayer money to DEP’s Marcellus Shale oil and gas advisory committee to pay for legal and consulting experts to review drilling regulation changes proposed by the Department of Environmental Protection.

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