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Senate/House Bills Moving Last Week

The following bills of interest saw action last week in the House and Senate--

Senate

Weakening Conventional Drilling Protections: Senate Bill 790 (Scarnati-R-Jefferson) that would significantly reduce requirements for protecting the environment from conventional oil and gas drilling was concurred in by the Senate and now goes to the Governor for his action.  Read more here.

‘Look But Don’t Touch’ Pipeline Planning: House Bill 2293 (Quinn-R-Delaware) that requires pipeline companies to make emergency response plans available to the Public Utility Commission, the PA Emergency Management Agency and county emergency management director where the pipeline is located, but does not allow them to change or point out deficiencies in the plan was passed by the Senate without amendment and now goes to the Governor for his action.  This bill is similar to Senate Bill 258 (Dinniman-D-Chester), a bipartisan initiative on the same issue.  Read more here.

Plastics To Fuel: House Bill 1808 (Mackenzie-R-Lehigh) further provides for the recycling of plastics by making it into fuel was passed by the Senate without amendment and now goes to the Governor for his action. Read more here.

Fiscal Code: House Bill 2536 (James-R-Venango) amendments to Fiscal Code to accompany the FY 2020-21 budget was amended and passed in the Senate and concurred in by the House (Senate Fiscal Note & Summary).  The bill now goes to the Governor for his action.  Read more here.

Land Bank Environmental Liability: House Bill 1737 (Gleim-R-Cumberland) originally provided protection from environmental liability for land banks as they redevelop properties, however, it was amended in the Senate to add provisions protecting businesses, schools, health care providers and others who follow state and federal COVID health directives from lawsuits for actions they take during the pandemic. The bill was passed by the Senate and concurred in by the House-- Republicans supporting-- and sent to the Governor for his action.  Read more here.

Shielding Violators From Penalties:  Senate Bill 253 (Phillips-Hill-R-York) would create yet more bureaucracy in each state agency called an Agency Regulatory Compliance Officer to arbitrarily establish policies for waiving fines or penalties for violators of regulations and law administered by the agency was Tabled pursuant to Senate Rule 9.  Read more here.

Kill Regulations By Doing Nothing: Senate Bill 5 (DiSanto-R-Cumberland) authorizes the General Assembly to kill any final regulation by doing nothing was Tabled pursuant to Senate Rule 9.  Read more here.

“Stream Cleaning”: Senate Bill 679 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) directs the Environmental Quality Board to develop regulations that authorize counties to adopt a program for “stream cleaning” and maintenance and the removal of obstructions and flood-related hazards from our local waterways was Tabled pursuant to Senate Rule 9. Read more here.

Eliminate Mandatory Reporting On Coal Mine Subsidence Damage: Senate Bill 763 (Bartolotta-R-Washington) would eliminate the mandated public report every five years on subsidence damage caused by underground coal mining in Pennsylvania was Tabled pursuant to Senate Rule 9.  Read more here. [Note: However, a provision was added to the pending Fiscal Code bill that accompanies the budget limiting DEP’s expenditures for this reporting to $280,000 per fiscal year.  Read more here.]

Pipeline Emergency Response Planning: Senate Bill 258 (Dinniman-D-Chester) a bipartisan initiative to improve emergency response to pipeline incidents (sponsor summary) was Tabled pursuant to Senate Rule 9.  A Republican bill on the same issue-- House Bill 2293 (Quinn-R-Delaware)-- was passed by the Senate and is now on the Governor’s desk for action.  Read more here.

Pipeline Emergency Response Planning: Senate Bill 284 (Killion-R-Delaware) a bipartisan initiative to improve emergency response to pipeline incidents (sponsor summary) was Tabled pursuant to Senate Rule 9.  A Republican bill on the same issue-- House Bill 2293 (Quinn-R-Delaware)-- was passed by the Senate and is now on the Governor’s desk for action.  Read more here.

House

General Fund Budget: Senate Bill 1350 (Browne-R-Lehigh) completes the FY 2020-21 General Fund budget (House Fiscal Note and Summary) was amended and passed by the House, concurred in by the Senate and sent to the Governor for his action.  Read more here.

Annual Fee On Electric Vehicles: Senate Bill 845 (Langerholc-R-Bedford) increases the allowable weight for electric trucks  (House Fiscal Note & Summary) was amended to include an annual fee on electric car owners in-lieu of paying gasoline taxes of from $15 to $250 depending on the type of electric vehicle passed by the House and sent to the Senate for concurrence.  It remains in the Senate Rules Committee.

Change Definition of Water Pollution: Senate Bill 619 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) making fundamental changes to the definition of water pollution under the state Clean Streams Law effectively making most spills and discharges to rivers and streams no longer pollution.

It also lets an individual or company who causes pollution to surface or groundwater, rather than DEP, determine if any spill should even be reported to DEP and whether it is pollution in the first place.

The bill was amended (technical) and reported out of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and Tabled.  Read more here.


11/23/2020

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