House Republicans Report Out Bill To Reallocate Keystone Fund That Threatens Vitality Of PA’s Outdoor Economy At A Critical Time For Small Businesses
On May 5, Republicans on the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee reported out legislation-- House Bill 2004-- which would reallocate monies from the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund used to support local recreation and conservation projects statewide.
The bill would undercut Pennsylvania’s outdoor recreation industry at a time when more people than ever are using local and state recreation facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic and when Pennsylvania needs to support small businesses.
The legislation is part of a three-prong Conservative Republican effort to undercut funding for local environmental projects, hamstring environmental protection programs and agencies.
The bills reported out include--
-- House Bill 2004 (Ortitay-R-Allegheny) gives the General Assembly authority to reallocate monies from the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund between participating agencies, instead of having an allocation fixed in law (sponsor summary). This bill is opposed by the PA Parks & Forests Foundation, PA Environmental Council and other conservation groups; and
-- House Bill 99 (Zimmerman-R-Lancaster) requiring DEP to establish an online permit tracking system (sponsor summary). No funding is provided by this legislation.
-- Senate Bill 1030 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) which would amend the Sewage Facilities Act to change the process for considering alternative on-lot sewage disposal systems in local sewage facilities plans (Senate Fiscal Note & Summary).
Alternative on-lot septic systems are systems which are not the traditional septic tank and drainfield system. The alternative systems are typically used in areas where soils do not meet the standards for a traditional septic tank.
Alternative on-lot septic systems technologies are specifically approved by DEP. The legislation seeks to supersede 2018 draft Technology Verification Protocol and site suitability requirements technical guidance being developed by DEP that has not yet been finalized or presented in final draft form to DEP’s Sewage Advisory Committee.
The bills now go to the full House for consideration.
Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) serves as Majority Chair of the House Environmental Committee and can be contacted by calling 717-783-1707 or sending email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware) serves as Minority Chair and can be contacted by calling 717-787-7647 or sending email to: email@example.com.
[Editor’s Note: $172 Million Just Sitting There: The Senate and House are still sitting on a $172 million surplus in their own operating accounts, but they don’t seem ready to repurpose the money to help taxpayers and real people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.
[Sacrifice is good… for other people in their view, apparently.
[Click Here to read more about "legislative privilege" and hiding how the General Assembly spends taxpayer money.
[3 Front War On The Environment
[House Bill 2004 is part of a sustained attack on the environment by Conservative Republicans who have been fighting a three front war on environmental programs and funding for the last decade--
-- Starving environmental agencies for funding so they have to cut staff and programs and then turn around and say they can’t do their job [they’ve successfully done that];
-- Adding even more layers of bureaucracy and procedures to block environmental regulations, reduce environmental standards and give regulated entities more control over these programs; and
-- Using every chance they get to cut funding to support community-based projects to protect and restore the environment, improve recreation opportunities and land conservation efforts that real people-- voters-- overwhelmingly support [they’ve successfully done that].
[So far the strategy is working.
[These are the latest attempts, but they won’t be the last.]
-- Editorial: Bad Timing For Harrisburg’s Anti-Environment Efforts [PaEN]
-- Analysis: Where Did The $2.93 Billion In Environmental Funding The General Assembly Diverted Or Cut Go?
-- Analysis: 2020 Is A Make Or Break Year For Environmental Funding
-- Senate, House Republicans STILL Sitting On $172 Million Surplus In Their Own Legislative Accounts Instead Of Helping With COVID-19 Response
-- Op-Ed: State Government Is Ignoring Pennsylvania’s Constitutional Right To A Clean Environment For Generations Yet To Come - Ron Evans, PA Environmental Defense Foundation
-- Op-Ed: My Fellow Conservatives Are Out Of Touch On The Environment - Fmr. Gov. Tom Ridge
Related Articles - House Bill 2004:
PA Parks & Forests Foundation Opposes Effort To Reallocate Keystone Recreation Fund Monies At A Time Recreation Facilities Needed Most
Learn More About $1 Billion State Parks, Forests Maintenance, Infrastructure Backlog At New Website; Then Take Action
PA Environmental Council Opposes Bill To Reallocate Keystone Fund That Threatens Vitality Of PA’s Outdoor Economy
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership Strongly Opposes Bill Reallocating Keystone Recreation, Park & Conservation Fund
Related Articles - House Bill 1822:
-- House Republicans Pass Bill To Freeze Funding For County Conservation Districts, Local Parks, Farm Conservation, Watershed Restoration Projects; Will Hurt Local Economies
-- 11 PA Fishing, Hunting Groups Urge Lawmakers To Oppose Freeze On Local Farm Conservation, Environmental Restoration Project Funding
-- Lancaster Clean Water Partners: Proposed Environmental Funding Freeze Would Be ‘Devastating’ To Lancaster’s Economy, Clean Water Efforts
-- PA Conservation District Assn.: House Republican Effort To Freeze Funding For County Conservation Districts Will Shut Them Down, Hurt Local Economies
-- May 3-9 County Conservation Districts Week Overshadowed By Lawmaker Efforts To Freeze, Shutdown Conservation District Funds
-- PA State Grange Farm Organization Opposes Proposed Freeze On Conservation District, Local Farm, Restoration Project Funding
-- PA Land Trust Assn. Says House Republican Effort To Prohibit State Expenditures On Conservation Districts, Local Conservation Projects 'Insanity'
-- PA Recreation & Park Society Opposes Republican Efforts To Freeze Funding For Local Park, Recreation, Conservation Projects
-- PA Parks & Forests Foundation Urges Lawmakers To Oppose Freeze On Recreation, Conservation Funding Addressing Imminent Health Threats, Help Economy Recover
-- PA Environmental Council: Almost All Funds Targeted By Republican Freeze Support Local Environmental, Conservation Efforts
--- PA Municipal Authorities Assn, 19 Waste Authorities Oppose Proposed Freeze On Recycling Funding
[Posted: May 5, 2020]
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