Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Clean Power Coalition Denounces Action To Stall Climate Change, Gut DEP Drilling Regs

The Clean Power PA Coalition, representing many of Pennsylvania’s environmental, clean energy business, public health and conservation community, Wednesday denounced the Senate’s passage of Senate Bill 1195 (White-R-Indiana), which would delay much-needed and publicly-supported action to tackle climate change.
The coalition also strongly criticized Senate Bill 279 (Hutchinson-R-Venango), which is on track to be approved in the House and would unravel long-fought updates for stronger oil and gas drilling standards.
The coalition said Senate Bill 1195 and Senate Bill 279 represent an unprecedented effort by the Pennsylvania General Assembly to undermine critical environmental, clean energy, and public health protections.
Coalition members including: Sierra Club, PennEnvironment, PennFuture and Natural Resources Defense Council issued the following statement today regarding Senate Bill 1195, Senate Bill 279 and a broader package of bills quickly moving through the legislature:
“The Pennsylvania legislature is advancing a package of bills that would allow the Commonwealth’s biggest polluters to keep poisoning our land, water, air, and climate. In an attempt to get a state budget passed, the legislature is pushing to make a deal on our environmental protections. That’s an egregious tradeoff that puts our citizens’ health at serious risk.
“This coordinated level of attacks on Pennsylvania’s environment and climate is extraordinary. By passing these bills, policymakers will set back Pennsylvania’s climate policy by years, gut our state’s overwhelmingly successful energy efficiency program, and stop new regulations on conventional oil and gas drilling. Not only will these changes increase pollution, but they will also create significant business uncertainty for our clean energy industries and potentially raise energy prices.
“We call on members of the legislature to oppose these attempts to stall pollution reductions and impede the expansion of clean energy and energy efficiency programs.  We also appreciate Gov. Wolf’s continued efforts to advance strong regulations on oil and gas drilling and to tackle climate change through the implementation of the Clean Power Plan, even in the face of sustained attacks from polluters and their allies in the legislature.”
The legislation attacking environmental protections, climate, and energy efficiency programs includes:
-- Senate Bill 1195 (White-R-Indiana) would allow legislators to subvert the overwhelming support of Pennsylvanians and significantly delay state action to reduce carbon emissions under the Clean Power Plan by over a year.  [Note: The bill was amended Tuesday and passed by the Senate Wednesday by a vote of 41 to 9.]
-- Senate Bill 279 (Hutchinson-R-Venango) would not allow new oil and gas regulations on conventional drillers to become law after nearly 5 years of public comments and participation, instead restarting the process.  [Note: The bill was amended and reported from the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Wednesday and Tabled.]
--  Senate Bill 562 (Gordner-R-Columbia) would allow legislators to block the advancement of any proposed regulations they disagree with, including critical environmental standards. It would also eliminate publication of information that citizens rely on to engage in the regulatory process.  [Note: The bill is on the House Calendar for action.]
Senate Bill 805 (Boscola-D-Lehigh) would allow large commercial and industrial entities to opt out of participating in energy efficiency programs as required by Pennsylvania Act 129, increasing our carbon emissions and raising energy prices for other consumers.   [Note: The bill was amended and reported out of the Senate Appropriations Committee Monday and remains on the Senate Calendar for action.]
For more information, visit the Clean Power PA Coalition website.
Related Stories:
PA Environmental Council: Much Work To Do To Modernize Conventional Drilling Regs

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