Friday, October 25, 2013

Oct. 28 PA Environment Digest Now Available

The Oct. 28 PA Environment Digest is now available.  Click Here to print entire Digest.

PennFuture Joins Municipal Authorities, Chesapeake Bay Foundation Opposing SB 994

PennFuture this week wrote to members of the Senate expressing their “significant concerns” with Senate Bill 994 (Vogel-R-Beaver) saying the bill would “manipulate and skew the nutrient credit trading market on behalf of one technology being advanced by one company.
PennFuture joined the PA Municipality Authorities Association and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA in opposing the bill.
The text of the PennFuture letter follows--
“PennFuture has significant concerns with Senate Bill 994, and urges you to oppose the bill should it come up for a vote in its current form.
“We are open to the general concept of nutrient trading to attain cost-effective reductions in nutrient pollution.  We are also open to the general concept of public investments in emerging technologies with potentially significant environmental benefits to help bring the emerging technologies to market or scale.  However, Senate Bill 994 does not merit your support for the following reasons:
-- Senate Bill 994 would manipulate and skew the nutrient credit trading market on behalf of one technology being advanced by one company.  We have substantial concerns as to whether the technology being advanced by the supporters of this legislation would be a cost-effective investment in reducing nutrient pollution.
-- It is likely the credits created by Senate Bill 994 would not be approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, meaning Pennsylvania could not use them in meeting its federal TMDL obligations.
-- Senate Bill 994 would concentrate public resources at a handful of facilities, which would only benefit a few tributaries and communities as opposed to the existing system that encourages improvements across a much wider range of municipalities.
-- Senate Bill 994 would likely divert emphasis and funds away from established and effective water quality and pollution reduction programs that are much broader in scope and provide additional benefits such as reduced flooding and stormwater runoff, and protection of habitat and public drinking water supplies.
-- Despite the amendments made by the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, we are still concerned that the legislation opens the door to raids on existing sources of funding for environmental programs.
“Senate Bill 994 was moved out of Committee without the benefit of a public hearing.  When the bill was voted, reference was made to a future joint hearing on the bill to be held by the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee and the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.
“We ask you to hold such a hearing so that the concerns raised and questions posed by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, PennFuture, and other organizations can be addressed.”
A copy of PennFuture’s letter is available online.

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