Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Majority Chair Of House Environmental Committee Asks DEP To Make Climate Petitioners Resubmit Cap-And-Trade Petition

On February 19, Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler), Majority Chair of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, wrote to DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell asking him to request petitioners to resubmit their greenhouse gas cap-and-trade petition to the Environmental Quality Board.
Rep. Metcalfe said he believes DEP failed to comply with requirements in 25 Pa Code Chapter 23 on notifying members of the Environmental Quality Board it had determined the petition was complete and ready to submit to the EQB to determine if it should be accepted for study.
The letter said, "As part of its obligation, the Department is required to notify the Environmental Quality Board ("EQB") and the petitioner of its determination within 30 days of receipt of the petition.
"The CAC Petition was filed on November 27, 2018, and the Department sent its "Petition Acceptance Letter," dated December 26, 2018. The Department failed to notify the EQB Members of the Department's determination or the fact that the Department sent the letter to the petitioner.”
DEP notified the members of the EQB by email of the completeness determination on February 15.
Rep. Metcalfe’s letter continued, “In the Department's e-mail, the first line opens with “Now having the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) membership fully established..." The EQB Board had been established. Whether individual Members were waiting to be appointed is moot. The Board, as a whole, still existed, and the Board Members have been requesting updates on the CAC Petition.
“I find this failure concerning especially when EQB Members have been asking for updates on the CAC Petition since the Department received it and have continuously requested updates on the CAC Petition as recently as last week.
“What is even more alarming is that the Department assured the EQB Members that the Members would be notified when the Department completed its determination. This lack in transparency is disrespectful to all the EQB Members as well as the public.
“This also serves to place EQB Members at a disadvantage by not giving them the same amount of time to be adequately prepared to not only discuss but vote on whether to accept the CAC Petition for further study.”
“... I believe that as a result of this failure, the Department should notify the petitioner that as a result of the Department's failure to comply with 25 Pa. Code Chapter 23, the Department must notify the petitioner that it needs to re-submit the CAC Petition for the Department's determination.
“Just as the Department is obligated to comply with 25 Pa. Code Chapter 23 in terms of the Petitioner's rights to have the petition considered, the EQB Members have an equal right to be notified.
Click Here for a copy of Rep. Metcalfe’s letter.
A spokesperson for DEP said they are reviewing the letter.
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