Key Points from Senate Budget Hearings Wednesday, March 2

HARRISBURG — The Senate Appropriations Committee continued public hearings on the proposed 2022-23 state budget Wednesday, reviewing spending requests by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Department of Environmental Protection.

Gov. Tom Wolf proposed a $45.7 billion budget that would increase spending by $4.5 billion. Based on projections, this will create a $1.3 billion deficit in the following fiscal year and produce a $13 billion deficit by FY 2026-27.

Wednesday’s hearings:

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Chair Gene Yaw (R-23) urged Secretary Cindy Dunn to take advantage of land leases to help fund $1.4 billion needed for park infrastructure repairs. The department was also questioned about its request to pay for additional personnel.

Members also discussed the moratorium on cell phone towers on state lands and its effect on the ability to expand broadband service to rural areas, as well as what steps the agency is taking to combat Lyme disease and what the General Assembly can do to help mitigate this debilitating condition in Pennsylvania.

Department of Environmental Protection

Efforts to improve DEP’s notoriously slow permitting process and potential roadblocks to building pipeline infrastructure for carbon capture and sequestration were among the topics raised with Secretary Patrick McDonnell.

DEP’s permitting process for bitcoin mining operations and its plans to address rivers polluted by mining runoff, as well as increased energy costs as a result of RGGI, were also discussed. Another critical topic explored was the work being done to clean up waterways and the ongoing efforts to clean up abandoned mine drainage and runoff issues.

You can find livestreams of budget hearings, daily recaps and video from prior hearings at PASenateGOP.com.

 

CONTACT: Matt Moyer mmoyer@pasen.gov