Senate OKs resolution to review Pennsylvania environmental laws
The state Senate voted 27-21 Tuesday to approve a resolution requiring a top-to-bottom analysis of Pennsylvania’s environmental laws and regulations, in an effort to ascertain which ones are more stringent than federal rules.
Supporters say it helps streamline government and encourages economic growth, while environmental groups say it’s aimed at rolling back important standards. Sen. Michele Brooks (R- Crawford) is the prime sponsor. She didn’t respond to a request to comment but in a memo to fellow lawmakers, says the resolution gives Pennsylvania a more competitive business climate.
“While most certainly all of us understand the importance of our environment, this resolution is intended to find balance through practical application of the laws and regulations and at the same time permit economic growth and job creation,” Brooks wrote.
“It’s a bad resolution,” says Matt Stepp, policy director of the environmental advocacy group, PennFuture. “The goal is to create an environmental regulation hit-list to provide some level of political cover to try to roll those back.”
Stepp sees the resolution as part of a broader legislative attack on environmental measures, including efforts to weaken new rules for oil and gas drilling and greenhouse gas emissions, and creating more avenues to challenge regulations.
The resolution directs the Joint State Government Commission to do the analysis and produce a report with recommendations to the General Assembly within 18 months.