HARRISBURG – The Senate Environmental Resources & Energy Committee today (April 12) approved, with strong bipartisan support, two bills intended to protect family-sustaining Pennsylvania jobs placed at risk by Governor Wolf’s veto of the Fiscal Code, House Bill 1327, according to Committee Chairman Gene Yaw (R-23) and Senators Scott Hutchinson (R-21) and Don White (R-41), the prime sponsors of the measures.
“The veto of the Fiscal Code by Governor Wolf has some very real world consequences,” according to Senator Yaw. “The Governor’s veto directly threatened the livelihood of thousands of jobs in the conventional oil and gas fields and coal industry. I am pleased that the Committee today saw the importance in protecting good-paying, family sustaining jobs across our state.”
Senate Bill 1011, introduced by Senator Hutchinson, would spare Pennsylvania’s conventional oil and gas well operations from the Administration’s onerous new regulations intended for Marcellus Shale gas extraction operators.
“I was extremely disappointed that the Governor vetoed the Fiscal Code, which among other important provisions would provide essential regulatory protection for conventional gas and oil wells. Specifically, a section of the Fiscal Code would have invalidated new regulations on conventional oil and gas wells that were published after Nov. 30, 2013,” Senator Hutchinson said. “I believe these new proposed regulations are illegal, but the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has proceeded to implement them anyway. Senate Bill 1011 clarifies once again that DEP must follow the law.”
Senator Hutchinson’s comments on his bill.
The Committee also voted to send a letter Independent Regulatory Review Commission recommending the panel completely reject the new oil and gas regulations proposed to Chapter 78. Senator Yaw’s comments on the letter.
Senate Bill 1195, introduced by Senator White, includes provisions addressing Pennsylvania’s compliance with the federal Clean Power Plan. Specifically, the bill provides procedures for the General Assembly’s consideration of the implementation strategy developed by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for the federal Clean Power Plan before its submission to the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
“The U.S. Supreme Court has suspended the implementation of the Clean Power Plan rules for further discussion and evaluation, so it only makes sense for Pennsylvania to follow that approach,” Senator White said. “The language in Senate Bill 1195 would allow the General Assembly to give Pennsylvania’s plan thoughtful consideration before it is submitted. It is essential that the Legislature be proactive in protecting our industries and the thousands of workers they employ. The state regulations to comply with this federal edict could have a devastating impact on those industries.”
Senator White’s comments on his bill.
The bills now go to the full Senate for consideration. The entire meeting.