Proposed Pennsylvania State Budget and Other Updates
Pennsylvania State Budget – Impact on the Environment
The Pennsylvania Senate recently approved a budget bill that potentially compromises public health for residents of Pennsylvania (Grassman, D. Don’t trade away clean air and water, Op-Ed, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Aug 2017). Some of the provisions of this proposal:
- “A committee of political appointees, stacked in favor of the oil and gas industry, would have the authority to negate policies implemented by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), including policies to reduce emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas and climate-change agent, from oil and gas operations.
- Third-party reviewers (fee-for-hire agents) would be empowered to establish the veracity of industry permit applications. These reviewers, which could include geologists and even landscape architects, would be unsupervised, unaccountable and under no conflict-of-interest rules.
- Any permit not denied by the DEP within the mandated time frame would automatically be deemed approved, regardless of deficiencies or environmental risk.”
Currently, the Department of Environmental Protection oversees these responsibilities and holds accountability for permitting and enforcing protections for air, water, and land. Under the Senate proposal, the oil and gas industry would be regulating itself. The DEP would be less empowered to act as a watchdog for the state’s environment.
If you are concerned about the future of Pennsylvania’s environmental protections, please learn more about the budget proposal and contact your legislators.
Environmental Education Opportunity
Making a Visible Difference in Reading: Children’s Health and the Environment
Mid-Atlantic Center for Children’s Health and the Environment
Presented by Katie Huffling, RN, CNM
Following the presentation, a focus group will convene to hear your ideas about environmental health priorities for children and how to best address these health issues.
Friday September 8, 2017 / 12:00 – 2:30 pm
Berks County Community Foundation
237 Court Street
Community Rooms A & B
Reading, PA 19601
Registration (free): https://goo.gl/forms/IJxbHGexhjNFgdNP2 (required as space is limited); Snacks and drinks will be provided