Sunday, April 4, 2021

Sen. Yaw Plans Bills To Stop State From Supporting Solar Energy Projects With Any Foreign Components; Adopt A Moratorium On Rulemaking During A Declared Emergency

Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming), Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, announced plans last week to introduce legislation to prevent the state from supporting any solar energy projects using an foreign made or assembled components.
Read more here.

He also plans to reintroduce legislation to prevent any state agency from adopting proposed or final regulations or any related advisory groups from meeting during an emergency declared by a Governor.  Read more here.

Solar Bill

While the bill language is not available yet, Sen. Yaw said, “I will be sponsoring legislation, which mirrors on-going national efforts, to prohibit state taxpayer dollars or tax credits from being utilized to purchase solar panels and related components which are manufactured or assembled outside the United States (emphasis added.)

“This approach ensures that, at a minimum, Pennsylvania taxpayer dollars are not used to support foreign governments that do not respect environmental standards or basic civil rights.”

“Currently, Communist China serves as a primary supplier of solar panels and components throughout the world, utilizing rare earth minerals that are mined without proper environmental standards and are often acquired through the use of forced child labor.”

He also said his bill would require DEP “to develop a plan for the safe recycling of solar panels and components that are at the end of their useful life.”

Obviously, just about any electric generation source-- including natural gas and coal, every consumer product and every vehicle in the United States has components either “manufactured or assembled” outside the United States.

The bill is no-doubt in response to an initiative Gov. Wolf announced March 22 to support the development of solar energy farms in six counties to generate enough clean electricity to supply nearly 50 percent of state government’s electricity needs.  Read more here.

This is the latest bill from Sen. Yaw intended to make solar and renewable energy, energy efficiency products, biomass, energy from coal waste plants, alternative fuels and even high-efficiency locomotives-- anything but natural gas and coal--  more expensive for consumers and less competitive.

In February, he introduced Senate Bill 284 to put bonding and other requirements on solar, renewable energy, energy efficiency and other products.  Read more here.

He introduced Senate Bill 275 that would prohibit local governments from requiring new buildings to use climate-friendly energy sources, part of a nationwide initiative by the American Gas Association.  Read more here.

These and other initiatives are part of a nationwide strategy by Republicans to oppose expansion of clean, renewable energy which they see expanding in states and nationally under the Biden Administration, even in the face of serious issues like the recent catastrophic failure of the electric grid in Texas where people are still without power and water.  

Read this report by the Financial Times from Sunday.

Republicans seek to significantly tilt the playing field toward natural gas and other fossil fuels at a time when the market and new electric generation is clearly favoring cheaper, renewable sources of energy.

Moratorium On Regulations

Sen. Yaw said he plans to reintroduced a modified version of Senate Bill 1147 from last session putting in place a moratorium on the adoption of any regulation during an emergency.  Read more here.

“At the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, agency staff is continuing to press forward on regulations to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative despite concerns echoing across the state that this program will do irreparable harm to Pennsylvania’s economy. 

“They do so at a time when public, in-person advisory committee meetings to provide meaningful input and dialogue are not being held. 

[Note: Actually, Sen. Yaw pointed to the positions taken by several DEP advisory committees that met during the pandemic that recommended not moving ahead with the RGGI regulation as a key justification for his opposition to the proposal.]

“At a time when policymakers should be focused on re-opening and re-building Pennsylvania’s economy, the Administration has authorized expenditures of millions of dollars to advance policies unrelated to the current disaster emergency.

  “Pennsylvanians deserve an Executive Branch that is focused on their wellbeing in its totality – in their health, safety and prosperity. During this time, Pennsylvanians shouldn’t have to wonder what schemes their government is advancing while they struggle to make ends meet.”

Had Sen. Yaw’s legislation been in place in January 2018 when Gov. Wolf first declared a disaster emergency for the opioid overdose crisis and which remains in effect today, the result would have been to all but permanently block any regulations and shut down citizen advisory committees for over four years.

Read more here about last session’s bill.

Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming) serves as Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Committee and can be contacted by calling 717-787-3280 or sending email to:   

Senate Republican 2021 Environmental & Energy Agenda -Bad

-- PA Senate Republican Caucus Files Lawsuit Against Delaware River Basin Commission Over Shale Gas Drilling Moratorium

-- Republicans On Senate Environmental Committee Approve Letter Urging IRRC To Disapprove Reg. Reducing Carbon Pollution From Power Plants

-- Senate Republican Bills Kill Regulations By Doing Nothing, Shield Violators From Enforcement

-- Senate Republicans Want To Mandate Private Contractor Permit Reviews, Eliminating DEP’s Review On Behalf Of The Public

-- Sen. Yaw Bill Would Load Up Renewable Energy Projects, Makers Of Energy Efficiency Products, Biomass, Coal Waste Plants, Alternative Fuels, Even High-Efficiency Locomotives With Bonds To Make Them Less Competitive

-- Sen. Yaw Introduces Bill To Preempt Local Governments From Requiring New Buildings Use Climate-Friendly Energy Sources

Senate Republican 2021 Environmental & Energy Agenda - Not Bad

-- Senators Laughlin, Haywood Announce Bipartisan Bill To Increase AEPS Solar Share To 5.5%

-- Sen. Scavello Reintroduces Legislation To Enable Community Solar Projects

-- Senate Committee OKs Bill To Encourage Development Of Clean Vehicle Infrastructure- Electric, Natural Gas, Hydrogen

-- Sen. Yaw Introduces Bill To Control Overuse Of Fertilizer On Turf; 11th Year For Consideration

[Posted: April 4, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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