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News From PA House & Senate

The information you need to follow legislation in the House and Senate- starting with articles and NewsClips from last week--

Environment & Energy NewsClips--

Gov. Shapiro

-- Senate Committee Meets June 26 To Consider Nomination Of Richard Negrin As DEP Secretary; Energy Information Office, Electric Billing Legislation [PaEN] 

-- PA Capital-Star: PA Gov. Shapiro Reopens Damaged Section Of I-95 In Philadelphia

Budget

-- Post-Gazette - Ford Turner: Partisan Fighting Has Returned To Harrisburg As Budget Talks Near A Deadline

-- PA Capital-Star: House Republicans Warn State Budget Could Be Late As They Push Back On Democrats’ Proposal

-- Post-Gazette - Ford Turner: Partisan Fighting Over Funding For University Of Pittsburgh Reveals Tensions In PA Budget Negotiations

-- PUC Distributes A Record $278.8 Million In Act 13 Shale Gas Drilling Impact Fee Revenue; Conventional Oil/Gas Operators Do Not Pay These Fees  [PaEN]

-- Observer-Reporter: Washington, Greene Counties Lead State In Receiving Act 13 Drilling Impact Fee Money 

-- 3 Days That Shook Washington County: Natural Gas Plant Explosion; Pipeline Leak Of 1.1 Million Cubic Feet Of Gas; 10,000 Gallon Spill At Compressor Station  [PaEN]  

-- WTAE: Washington County Homeowner Takes On Gas Drilling Companies In Court 

-- KDKA: Washington County Family Takes 2 Gas Companies To Court Over Fracking Health Concerns 

-- Children’s Health Defense News: Washington County Family Sickened By PFAS Chemicals Used In Chevron’s Shale Gas Fracking Wells, Lawsuit Alleges

I-95 Collapse In Philadelphia

-- PA Capital-Star: PA Gov. Shapiro Reopens Damaged Section Of I-95 In Philadelphia

-- PA Capital-Star: Shapiro: Damaged Portion Of I-95 In Philadelphia Will Reopen With Temporary Lanes By The Weekend

-- Wilkes-Barre Times: Pocono Raceway Jet Dryer Deployed To Philly For I-95 Work

-- Inquirer: I-95 Live Cam Is The Sleeper Hit Of The Season

Norfolk Southern Train Derailment

-- AP: Response To Fiery Norfolk Southern Train Derailment Frustrated By Poor Communication, Incomplete Information

-- AP: NTSB Hearing Focuses On Equipment That Failed In Norfolk Southern Train Derailment

-- Post-Gazette: NTSB Hearings Offer New Details On Norfolk Southern Train Derailment; It’s Still Not Enough For Some Residents

-- PennLive: Ohio Village Affected By Norfolk Southern Train Derailment OKs Revitalization Plan

-- WESA/WCPN: Norfolk Southern To Spend More Than $25 Million To Renovate East Palestine OH City Park

-- AP: New PHMSA Rule Would Make All Railroads Alert First Responders Within 10 Miles Of Derailed Train Cargo 

PA Politics Of Russian Invasion

-- Baker Hughes: PA Natural Gas Drilling Rig Count Up 1 To 23

-- Bloomberg: European Natural Gas Prices Extend Fall After Weeks Of Intense Volatility

-- Bloomberg: Drought Impact On Panama Canal Threatens Disruption In U.S. LNG Natural Gas Shipments 

-- Reuters: US LNG Natural Gas Export Project Approvals On Track For Record New Volumes

-- Bloomberg: Natural Gas Is Here To Stay For Decades, Says Shell, Chevron, China Buys LNG Into 2050s

-- AAA Average Gasoline Prices: Pennsylvania - $3.65, Nationally- $3.58

-- Reuters: U.S. Shale’s Muted Response To OPEC+ Oil Production Cuts To Limit Supply, Executive Says

-- Reuters: Crude Oil Prices Fall On China Growth Uncertainties

Environment/Energy Issues

-- 3 Days That Shook Washington County: Natural Gas Plant Explosion; Pipeline Leak Of 1.1 Million Cubic Feet Of Gas; 10,000 Gallon Spill At Compressor Station  [PaEN]

-- Observer-Reporter: Washington, Greene Counties Lead State In Receiving Act 13 Drilling Impact Fee Money 

-- WTAE: Washington County Homeowner Takes On Gas Drilling Companies In Court 

-- KDKA: Washington County Family Takes 2 Gas Companies To Court Over Fracking Health Concerns 

-- Children’s Health Defense News: Washington County Family Sickened By PFAS Chemicals Used In Chevron’s Shale Gas Fracking Wells, Lawsuit Alleges

-- WTAE: 6 Leaking Abandoned Conventional Wells In Hanover Twp., Washington County Contaminated Water Supply, Releasing Natural Gas In And Next To Hillman State Park  

-- TribLive: West Deer Township Approves Olympus Energy Shale Gas Drilling Well Pad; Neighbors Plan To Appeal In Allegheny County

-- Protect PT Hosts June 24 In-Person Community Workshop - Living Near Shale Gas In Westmoreland County, 10:00 a.m.

-- Beaver County Times Guest Essay: How Environmental Justice Community Benefits Agreements Can Empower Residents Of Beaver County - By Dr. Daniel Rossi-Keen, RiverWise

-- Pittsburgh Business Times: Coal-Fired Power Plant Allies Say Homer City Won’t Be Only Casualty Of Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative  [Natural Gas Competition Closed Coal Plants In PA]

-- Post-Gazette - Salena Zito: Finding Grace And Hope In West Virginia Coal Country, Where Others See Only Decay

-- Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Weekly Compliance Dashboard - June 17 to 23 - Federal Well Plugging Project & Dimock Area Shale Gas Well Inspections; Leaking Plugged Conventional Wells; Frack Out Investigation  [PaEN] 

-- House Republicans, Democrats Introduce Legislation To Prevent The Court System From Being Used By Powerful Interests To Silence Citizen Critics  [PaEN] 

-- Legislative Report On Proposed Changes To Biosolids Permits Finds No Approved Method Of PFAS ‘Forever Chemical' Testing, No Standards For PFAS In Biosolids; DEP Says Changes Needed To Protect Health, Environment  [PaEN]

-- Penn State Extension: Testing, Treating For PFAS 'Forever Chemicals' In PA Water Wells  [PaEN] 

-- House Environmental Committee Holds June 27 Meeting On Bills Increasing Setback Distances From Natural Gas Infrastructure, 2-Year Moratorium On Cryptocurrency Air Permits  [PaEN]

-- Senate Republicans Pass Bill To Significantly Narrow The Grounds For Appealing DEP Environmental Permit Actions  [PaEN]

-- Senate Environmental Committee Reports Out Bills Letting Polluters Decide When To Report Spills And CO2 Injection Well Primacy By Party-Line Votes  [PaEN] 

-- Post-Gazette/Capitolwire.com - Robert Swift: PA Senate Committee Passes Carbon Sequester Guideline Bill

-- DEP To Hold July 25 Hearing On Proposed Roulette Oil & Gas Wastewater Injection Well In Potter County  [PaEN]  

-- EPA Issues Permit For Class IID Oil & Gas Waste Underground Injection Well In Jefferson County  [PaEN]

-- Marcellus Drilling News: Punxsutawney Phil Getting A New Neighbor - Oil & Gas Wastewater Injection Well  [EPA OKs injection well permit]  

-- TribLive: Grant Twp., Indiana County Community’s Fight To Stop An Oil & Gas Waste Injection Well

-- TribLive: Murrysville, Plum Officials Deal With Oil & Gas Waste Injection Well Issues In Allegheny County 

DEP Posts Solicitation For Bids To Plug 23 Abandoned Conventional Oil & Gas Waste Injection Wells Owned By ARG Resources, Inc. And Pennzoil Company In Elk County   [PaEN] 

-- Susquehanna River Basin Commission Approves Water Withdrawal Projects, Including 12 Related To Shale Natural Gas Drilling  [PaEN]

-- Susquehanna River Basin Commission Approves 32 Shale Gas Well Pad Water Use Permits In Bradford, Clearfield, Lycoming, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Wyoming Counties  [PaEN] 

-- Post-Gazette - Anya Litvak: Lawmakers And Regulators Want Permit Reform And Environmental Justice, How Does One Shape The Other? 

-- Post-Gazette Editorial: Permitting Reform Is Unsexy, But More Important Than Ever

-- Spotlight PA: Safety, Oversight Concerns Raised As PA Lawmakers Pursue Billions For Hydrogen Hubs

-- Post-Gazette/Capitolwire.com: PA Senate Approves Electric Vehicle Fee Bill, Exemptions From Vehicle Emissions Testing

-- The Center Square - Anthony Hennen: C-PACE Clean Energy Program May Soon Include Electric Vehicle Chargers 

-- WPost - Timothy Puko: In Louisiana’s ‘Cancer Alley,’ A Key Biden Climate Push On Carbon Capture Storage Draws Fire From Environmentalists

-- PA Business Report: PA House Hearing Examines Integrity, Reliability Of Electric Grid In Luzerne County

-- The Center Square - Anthony Hennen: As Solar Energy Generation Grows, So Do Questions About Power Grid Upkeep Costs

-- City & State PA Guest Essay: Community Solar Energy Will Create Jobs, Boost PA’s Economy - By PA Building & Construction Trades Council

-- PA Solar Center Accepting Applications For GET Solar Communities Technical Assistance Program  [PaEN] 

-- Sen. Yaw Introduces Bill To Create Independent Energy Information Office In PA

-- Sen. Yaw Introduces Bill Increasing Penalties For Damaging Equipment Related To Electric Power Grid - Senate Bill 819

-- Scranton Times: Flood Insurance Premiums To Soar In NE PA Because Of Change In How They Are Calculated 

-- PennLive: Wildlife Corridors: PA Aims To Offer Safe Passage For Bear, Other Wildlife

-- Observer-Reporter: Wildlife Corridor Measure Passed By House Aims To Protect State’s Wildlife Habitat 

-- Guest Essay: Support Increased Funding In 2023 Federal Farm Bill That Benefits Small Family Farms, Landowners, Cleaner Rivers And Streams  - By Brenda J. Shambaugh, PA Association of Conservation Districts  [PaEN]

Top 10 Stories On Harrisburg/PA Politics Last Week--

Because In Politics Everything Is Connected To Everything Else--

-- Top 10 Stories: Harrisburg/PA Politics Reported By Local News Media Last Week [PaEN]

Senate, House Bills Moving Last Week

The following environmental and energy bills saw movement last week--

Senate

Narrowing Grounds For Appeal Of DEP Permits: Senate Bill 198 (Bartolotta-R-Washington) which would create a new standard for the review for appeals of DEP permit actions before the Environmental Hearing Board by limiting parties appealing permit decisions-- a company or a citizens group-- to issues raised in and information contained in a record of decision of a permit prepared by DEP.  This would prevent a citizens group or anyone else from raising issues DEP missed or misinterpreted.  The bill was referred into and out of the Senate Appropriations Committee, amended and passed by the Senate by a party-line vote, Republicans supporting.  The bill now goes to the House for action.  Read more here.

Terms Of Environmental Hearing Board Members: Senate Bill 199 (Bartolotta-R- Washington) requires members of the Board whose terms have expired to be reappointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. The bill was referred into and out of the Senate Appropriations Committee and passed by the Senate by a party-line vote, Republicans supporting. The bill now goes to the House for action.  Read more here.

Vehicle Emission Inspections: Senate Bill 561 (Langerholc-R-Cambria) and Senate Bill 562 (Langerholc-R-Cambria) making changes to the vehicle emissions control program were reported out of the Senate Appropriations Committee and passed by the Senate by an almost party-line votes.  The bills now go to the House for action.

Electric Vehicle Road Fee:  Senate Bill 656 (Rothman-R-Cumberland) establishing an electric vehicle road user fee was referred into and out of the Senate Appropriations Committee and passed by the Senate 41 to 9.  The bill now goes to the House for action.

Penalty For Killing Eagles: Senate Bill 709 (Boscola-D-Lehigh) increasing penalties for killing bald and golden eagles was passed by the Senate and now goes to the House.

Stream Cleaning: Senate Bill 690 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) would authorize county conservation districts to develop a complex and expensive program related to “reconstruction emergency permit authorizations” to conduct “stream cleaning” operations [Read more here] was referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

10-Year Stream Cleaning Permit: Senate Bill 689 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) would authorize DEP to issue a 10-year “stream cleaning” permits to local governments or PennDOT without need for further preapprovals for actions in the stream regardless if stream conditions changes within their jurisdictions [Read more here] was referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Using Recycled Materials In Stuffed Toys: Senate Bill 756 (Robinson-R-Allegheny) allowing the use of recycled materials in stuffed toys (sponsor summary) was referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee. 

Redefining Spills: Senate Bill 286 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) would redefine when a spill needs to be reported by letting the polluter decide when to notify DEP taking into account control and remedial measures, whether the discharge will harm receiving waters or public health.  [The current standard is if you spill something within reportable quantities you report it-- simple.]  The bill was reported out of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and is now on the Senate Calendar for action.  Read more here

CO2 Injection Wells: Senate Bill 831 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) would direct the state to apply for primary authority to regulate Class VI carbon dioxide underground injection wells from the U.S. EPA.  The bill was reported out of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and is now on the Senate Calendar for action.  Read more here.

Lyme Disease Testing: Senate Bill 100 (Brooks-R-Crawford) further providing for diagnosis and treatment of Lyme Disease and other tick-borne illnesses was Tabled.

House 

ATV Penalties: House Bill 1338 (Neilson-D- Philadelphia) authorizing Philadelphia to adopt a local ordinance regulating illegal use of off-road vehicles like dirt bikes and ATVs on city streets was amended and reported out of the House Transportation Committee and re-referred to House Rules Committee.

Catalytic Converter Thefts: House Bill 791 (Isaacson-D-Philadelphia) further providing for penalties for catalytic converter thefts was amended and reported out of the House Consumer Protection, Technology and Utilities Committee and re-referred to the House Rules Committee.

Pollinator Week: House Resolution 132 (Matzie-D-Beaver) designating June 19 to 25 as Pollinator Week in Pennsylvania was reported out of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee and adopted by the House 202 to 1-- Rep. Wendy Fink (R-York) was the lone no vote.

Bill Calendars

House (June 26): House Bill 962 (Vitali-D- Delaware) to restore DEP’s authority to review conventional oil and gas well plugging bonding amounts to help prevent the routine abandonment of between 400 and 600 conventional oil and gas wells a year by operators Read more here; House Bill 1032 (Fiedler-D-Philadelphia) establishing a solar energy grant program for schools Read more hereHouse Resolution 79 (Pisciottano-D- Allegheny) urging the Biden Administration and Congress to designate Pennsylvania as a hydrogen hub; House Resolution 131 (Steele-D-Allegheny) directing the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to estimate how much revenue Pennsylvania could have collected by adopting a natural gas severance tax since February 2012 (sponsor summary). <> Click Here for full House Bill Calendar.

Senate (June 26): Senate Bill 286 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) would redefine when a spill needs to be reported by letting the polluter decide when to notify DEP taking into account control and remedial measures, whether the discharge will harm receiving waters or public health  Read more here; Senate Bill 514 (Baker-R-Luzerne) requiring child testing for lead blood levels (sponsor summary); Senate Bill 831 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) would direct the state to apply for primary authority to regulate Class VI carbon dioxide underground injection wells from the U.S. EPA  Read more here.  <> Click Here for full Senate Bill Calendar.

Committee Meetings

House   

June 26-- House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee to hold hearing on Pennsylvania Waterways and the Chesapeake Bay.  Room G-50 Irvis Building. 10:00 a.m.  Click Here to watch live.

June 26-- House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee meets to consider House Bill 1323 (Mako-R-Northampton) prohibiting construction of wind farms that negatively affect military installations (sponsor summary). Room 60 East Wing. 11:00 a.m.   Click Here to watch live.

June 27-- House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee meets to consider House Bill 170 (Otten-D-Chester) establishing 2,500 foot setbacks from natural gas compressor stations, well pads, pits, storage tanks, wastewater, chemicals, condensate and other waste as recommended in Attorney General Shapiro’s Grand Jury Report (sponsor summary); House Bill 1476 (Vitali-D-Delaware) establishing a 2-year moratorium on issuing air quality permits to cryptocurrency data mining facilities (sponsor summary).  Room G-50 Irvis Building. 9:00 a.m.   Click Here to watch live.   Read more here.

June 28-- House Game and Fisheries Committee meets to consider House Bill 1409 (Kulik-D-Allegheny) reauthorization of authority of Fish and Boat Commission to set fees. Room 523 Irvis Building. 9:00 a.m.   Click Here to watch live.

<>  Click Here for full House Committee Schedule. 

Senate

June 26-- Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee is scheduled to consider the nomination of Richard Negrin as Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection and these bills: Senate Bill 832 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) that would establish the Independent Energy Information Office to provide “impartial, timely and data driven analysis to guide the state in determining and meeting future energy needs”  modeled on the current Independent Fiscal Office. An amendment to the bill is expected. This initiative continues efforts by Republicans to build their own taxpayer-funded environmental and energy bureaucracy; Senate Resolution 116 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) directing the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to study the issue of consolidated electricity billing.  Room 8E-B East Wing. Noon.  Click Here to watch live.  Read more here.

 <>  Click Here for full Senate Committee Schedule.

Bills Pending In Key Committees

Check the PA Environmental Council Bill Tracker for the status and updates on pending state legislation and regulations that affect environmental and conservation efforts in Pennsylvania. 

Session Schedule

Here is the latest voting session schedule for the Senate and House--

House

June 26, 27, 28, 29, 30

Senate

June 26, 27, 28, 29, 30

[Posted: June 25, 2023]


6/26/2023

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