Thursday, July 27, 2017

PEC Urges House, Senate Members, Governor To Oppose Drastic Changes To DEP Permit Reviews

The PA Environmental Council Thursday sent a letter to all members of the General Assembly  and Gov. Wolf urging them to oppose provisions in the Tax Code bill-- House Bill 542 (Thomas-D-Philadelphia)-- that make drastic and unprecedented changes to permit reviews by the Department of Environmental Protection.
The text of their letter follows--
Dear Governor Wolf and Members of the General Assembly:
On behalf of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, I am writing to express our opposition to amendments made to tax code legislation – House Bill 542 (P.N. 2259) – that severely compromise environmental protections in our state. These amendments include:
-- Establishing a new, legislatively-appointed review board that has sole authority to disallow air permitting controls for the unconventional gas industry. This provision provides special treatment for one particular industry with respect to environmental law and regulation.
-- Mandating third party review and approval of environmental permits. In more direct terms, effectively ceding a primary component of the state’s responsibility to protect public health and the environment to private interests. There are no provisions made as to assuring the qualifications of these private interests, ensuring the right for public comment, or protecting against self-dealing.
These drastic amendments are ill-advised, and likely violate both federal law and our state’s constitution. They should be rejected as an affront to responsible environmental protection.
We urge you to vote against this amended legislation.
For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the PA Environmental Council website, visit the PEC Blog, follow PEC on Twitter or Like PEC on Facebook.  Visit PEC’s Audio Room for the latest podcasts.  Click Here to receive regular updates from PEC.

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