Friday, January 21, 2022

Senate Committee Set To Meet Jan. 25 On Bills To Redefine Water Pollution, Prohibit State From Owning Clean Energy Credits; Hold Hearing On Stormwater Fees

Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee is scheduled to meet January 25 on legislation to redefine water pollution, prohibit the state from owning clean energy credits and other bills.  

There will also be a hearing on stormwater fees and implementation after the voting meeting.

The bills include--

-- Redefining Water Pollution: House Bill 1842 (Zimmerman-R-Lancaster) would redefine water pollution to allow polluters to determine when spills are serious enough to notify DEP.

County conservation districts and many other environmental and wildlife groups are opposed to the bill introduced at the request of Merck  Sharp & Dohme pharmaceutical company.  Read more here.

The bill is a companion to Senate Bill 545 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) now in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

[Note: Is it really such a good idea to move this bill when DEP just reported a record 27,886 miles of streams-- 33 percent-- in Pennsylvania don’t meet water quality standards?  Read more here.

[The Senate should be working on cleaning up pollution by allocating $500 million from the federal American Rescue Plan to fund watershed restoration, farm conservation, recreation and other local environmental projects-- bipartisan Senate Bill 525.  Read more here.

[The Senate could also be moving bipartisan Senate Bill 465 to create a new program to pay for on-farm conservation projects.  Read more here.]

[Instead, it’s taking up time on ‘dog whistles.’ Read more here.]

-- Prohibiting The State From Owning Clean Energy Credits: Senate Bill 945 (Yaw-R- Lycoming) directs state government to sell all its Renewable Energy Credits and deposit the proceeds in the Marcellus Legacy Fund for use to plug oil and gas wells abandoned by the industry and left to taxpayers to pay to clean up.  Read more here.

[Note: DEP is expected to receive approximately $395 million to plug orphan and abandoned oil and gas wells over the next decade from the new federal Bipartisan Infrastructure law.  Read more here

[The Senate could be working on this-- DEP has only $15 per well in bonds on hand to deter future abandoned wells from existing oil and gas well owners.  Read more here.

[Conventional oil and gas well drillers tried to abandon wells without plugging them 813 times in 2019 and 2020.  Read more here.]

-- Suspending California Heavy-Duty Clean Vehicle Regulations: Senate Bill 1030 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) to temporarily suspend Pennsylvania’s regulations which adopted California regulations related to heavy-duty vehicle diesel controls, leaving the federal standards to govern while the suspension is in effect.

This is a companion bill to House Bill 2075 (Knowles-R-Schuylkill) the House passed December 15 which is also in this Committee.

[Note: DEP did this on November 6, 2021.  Read more here.]

-- Adding Coal Refuse Energy Rep To Advisory Board: House Bill 668 (James-R-Venango) adding a coal refuse energy representative on DEP’s Mining and Reclamation Advisory Board.

The meeting/hearing will be held in Room 8E-B East Wing of the Capitol Building starting at 9:30 a.m.  Click Here to watch online.

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:   Sen. Carolyn Comitta (D-Chester) serves as Minority Chair and can be contacted by calling 717-787-5709 or sending email to:


-- U.S. EIA: U.S. Electricity Generation From Natural Gas Now Falling Like Coal In Face Of New, Cheaper Renewable Power Plants [Not Subject To Whims Of International Energy Markets]

Related Articles:

-- PA Conservation Districts Oppose Bill Redefining Water Pollution, Letting Polluters Decide When To Report Spills  

-- Two Bipartisan Bills Just Sitting In Senate Waiting To Address Record Number Of Water Quality Impaired Streams Reported In 2022

-- DEP 2022 Water Quality Report Shows 27,886 Miles Of Streams With Impaired Water Quality In PA (33%) - An Increase From 25,468 In 2020

-- Sen. Yaw Introduces Bill To Make It Illegal For State Government To Own Renewable Energy, Something Every Utility, And Thousands Of Energy Users Do
-- Let’s Pass Some Good Environmental & Energy Legislation In 2022 - Instead Of Just Dog Whistles

[Posted: January 21, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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