PEC Delivers Opposition to Fiscal Code Amendments Affecting Environmental Protection

To:  Members of the Pennsylvania Senate
From:  John Walliser, Pennsylvania Environmental Council
Re:  Opposition to Fiscal Code Amendments Affecting Environmental Protection

Dear Senator:

On behalf of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, I am writing to convey our continued opposition to the use of Fiscal Code legislation to inhibit or undo environmental protections. We believe this practice, used with increasing frequency by the General Assembly, is against the public interest and likely unconstitutional.

Yesterday, House Bill 1327 (P.N. 2650) was amended to include language abrogating proposed rulemaking by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection with respect to conventional oil and gas operations. This proposed rulemaking was developed in response to legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2012 and signed into law by Governor Corbett; rulemaking that has been subject to 12 public hearings, two separate public comment periods, and more than a dozen public meetings with the oil & gas technical advisory board.

This legislative amendment has not been afforded proper public consideration. Instead, it has been buried in omnibus legislation that, due to long-overdue resolution of the Commonwealth’s budget, will be virtually impossible to untangle or be vetted on its own merits.  There are serious questions as to whether inclusion of this provision in the Fiscal Code violates the single subject rule of the Pennsylvania Constitution; not to mention the Environmental Rights Amendment of Article I, Section 27.

We urge you to remove this provision from House Bill 1327.

John Walliser
Senior Vice President, Legal & Government Affairs
Pennsylvania Environmental Council