Save the PA DEP!

The State Legislature is moving forward a set of bad bills that would decimate the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and drastically roll back regulations on the fracking industry in Pennsylvania.

As time is running out and the bills are moving forward. Call your State Representative NOW and urge them to OPPOSE the environmental rollbacks in the state budget bills. These bills (House Bills 542453118) are downright unconstitutional. The policies enacted by the bills would either privatize or paralyze the DEP.

They would:

– Create a pathway for permits for fracking and other polluting infrastructure to be outsourced to “third-party professionals,” essentially privatizing a core function of DEP.

– Create a new board appointed by the legislature that could veto environmental regulations.

– Set a 45-day timer for approving permits, after which point the permit is automatically approved. This will mean fracking companies can drag their feet on working to address issues identified in permits, because if they run out the clock, they win, and Pennsylvania loses.

– Incentivize decision makers to keep fracking around because of a new fracking tax.

House Bills 542453118 were passed by the Pennsylvania State Senate a few weeks ago, and could be voted on by the House at any point in the coming days.

Democrats in the Senate wanted to plug a budget hole by placing a tax on the fracking industry — a tax that will only further entrench the fracking industry by hooking the state onto fracking tax revenue. In return for the tax, Republicans demanded a huge rollback in core environmental regulations.

As the bills move to the House of Representatives, you can expect that some Democrats will oppose this legislation to protect the DEP, and some Republicans will oppose because they don’t want the fracking tax. This means all Representatives in the House are in play.

Now is our only opportunity to inject our voices into our representatives’ decision-making process. Let’s urge them to vote against these bills, to protect our communities and the Pennsylvania DEP.