Sen. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Allegheny) this week introduced Senate Bill 1327 which would prohibit DEP from adopting methane emission regulations for the oil and gas industry that are more stringent than federal standards.
“Over the past year, the EPA has announced several significant new regulatory requirements to control methane emissions,” said Sen. Reschenthaler. “However, efforts in Pennsylvania to expand standards and requirements beyond those mandated by the federal government continue to place our state at a competitive economic disadvantage.
“These actions harm job creation and discourage capital investment across the Commonwealth, all while providing little if any tangible environmental benefit for our communities,” added Sen. Reschenthaler. “Pennsylvania job creators and those in our communities that depend on them would benefit significantly from avoiding a duplicative, confusing, and costly patchwork of standards.”
A sponsor summary of the bill is available.
This bill follows the introduction of Senate Resolution 385 two weeks ago by Sen. Michele Brooks (R-Crawford) directing the Joint State Government Commission to identify state environmental laws and regulations that are more stringent than federal law as a first step toward rolling back those protections.
“While most certainly all of us understand the importance of our environment, this resolution is intended to find balance through practical application of the laws and regulations and at the same time permit economic growth and job creation,” said Sen. Brooks. “Hopefully, this can be a first step in pinpointing current laws and regulations that impact hardworking citizens and businesses and make Pennsylvania more competitive in attracting new businesses.”
Note how the language used to describe the proposals is so similar.
Senate Resolution 385 was, in turn, preceded by the introduction of House Bill 1967 (Gabler-R-Clearfield) in May that would eliminate the current DEP limit on temporarily ceasing surface coal mining operations for 180 days and replace it with the less stringent federal requirement that has no specific time frames.
“As you know, for a variety of reasons, our coal industry in Pennsylvania is experiencing severe economic hardships,” said Rep. Matt Gabler. “To add to these problems, the current regulatory requirements for temporary cessation of surface mining activities in the Commonwealth are stricter than federal standards.
“Please join us by co-sponsoring this commonsense legislation to cut needless bureaucracy for job creators while maintaining appropriate protections for our environment,” said Gabler.
And that makes three. Looks like they’re all reading from the same “no more stringent” guidebook.
Add in the fact that--
-- Gov. Wolf signed legislation Thursday to kill conventional oil and gas drilling regulations-- Senate Bill 279 (Hutchinson-R-Venango) now Act 52; and a bill to provide more legislative oversight for any DEP plan to implement the EPA Clean Power Climate Rule-- Senate Bill 1195 (White-R-Indiana) now Act 57;
-- The Governor’s Office is now negotiating with House Republicans over whether to set up an independent board to approve private recreational developments on DCNR’s State Park land in House Bill 2013; and
-- Another House Republican’s idea of improving recreation in Pennsylvania-- House Bill 2188 (Christiana-R-Beaver)-- which directs DCNR to build 4 golf courses to establish the Arnold Palmer Trails Program (sponsor summary);This hasn’t been a pretty week for Pennsylvania’s environment.