PEC Opposes Riders to State Budget Legislation

Tax Code Bill Includes Amendments That Limit Environmental Protections
July 27, 2017

PEC has sent the following communication to the Governor and General Assembly in opposition to tax code legislation that was amended to include two provisions which fundamentally alter environmental permitting and protections.

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July 27, 2017

To:       Governor Tom Wolf and Members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly
Re:       Opposition to House Bill 542 (P.N. 2259)

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.


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