Our environment is a finite resource and the Pennsylvania Constitution mandates that “people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.”
The General Assembly must take this directive seriously and the Senate Democrats are leading on many fronts.
Fighting Climate Change
Climate Change is real. Denial only delays the inevitable and increases the price tag and technical difficulty of the eventual solution, if it’s not too late already. Greenhouse gases from human activity are the primary driver of climate change. Worldwide, net emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities increased by 35 percent from 1990 to 2010. Emissions of carbon dioxide, which account for about three-fourths of total emissions, increased by 42 percent over this period. The Senate Democrats have a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emission now, and it must be implemented. It’s time to move toward renewable sources of energy, which ultimately enhances our energy independence.
Severance for Growing Greener
A tax on an environmental resource should be used to benefit the environment. We should impose a severance tax to fund a new round of Growing Greener programs. This should include renewable energy investments, cleaning up legacy pollution, protecting and improving watersheds and open spaces, and helping our agricultural industry.
The Marcellus Shale drilling boom and hydraulic fracking have set off a massive pipeline construction surge that is intruding and threatening many communities. Pipelines are encroaching on residential communities, schools, and water sources creating potential hazards that must be addressed. Environmental laws and regulators must keep up with this new phase of construction to protect communities, families, and our children.
Addressing Lead Contamination and Protecting Drinking Water
Flint, Michigan has turned out to not be an isolated incident. Many communities in Pennsylvania have lead contamination issues that have to be addressed to protect our drinking water. Often taken for granted, an we’ve made enormous investments to deliver water. More needs to be done to remove lead from drinking water systems and to protect children from its developmental impacts.
Maintaining the State Forest Drilling Moratorium
Pennsylvania has an amazing treasure in our state forests and parks. Much space has already been leased away in our forests for gas drilling development. What is left must be protected for the enjoyment and use of our many recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, and off-roading.
Our Members at Work
HARRISBURG - June 6, 2018 - Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa, Jr. today circulated a memo asking for cosponsors for a bill to create a “Cap and Invest” program for the state’s electric power sector. “The federal government has abdicated responsibility on climate...read more
Senators Santarsiero, Collett Introduce Bill to Provide Attorney General with Concurrent Jurisdiction in Environmental Crimes
HARRISBURG - May 16, 2019 – Senators Steve Santarsiero and Maria Collett issued a joint memorandum inviting fellow senators to join them in support of a packet of legislation that provides Pennsylvania’s Office of Attorney General (OAG) with concurrent...read more
Senator Yudichak and Members of the Task Force on Lead Exposure Discuss Legislative Recommendations of Advisory Committee and Task Force Report on Lead Exposure
HARRISBURG - May 7, 2019 – Senator John Yudichak (D – Luzerne/Carbon) and legislative members of the Task Force on Lead Exposure held a press conference today to discuss the legislative recommendations that were part of ‘Lead Exposure Risks and Response in...read more
HARRISBURG – May 7, 2019 – Senate Democrats introduced key pieces of the PA Farm Bill today, including measures to promote organic farming, exempt taxes for beginning farmers, increase tax credits and stimulate urban farming. The four-bill package is being sponsored...read more
HARRISBURG - April 29, 2019 - At a press event earlier today at the State Capitol, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced his decision for the state to join the U.S. Climate Alliance, and offered his support for Senators Steve Santarsiero and Art Haywood’s...read more
PITTSBURGH, April 23, 2019 – At the request of state Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-Forest Hills) and Senator Wayne Fontana (D-Brookline), the Senate Democratic Policy Committee held a hearing today in Pittsburgh on strategies for combatting climate change by...read more
North Wales, Pa. – April 22, 2019 – Senator Maria Collett (D-Montgomery/Bucks) introduced two pieces of legislation today to address the PFAS contamination crisis. SB 581 lowers the acceptable level of PFAS in our drinking water to 10 parts per trillion until such...read more
Senators Santarsiero, Haywood, and Killion Gather with Advocates in Support of Renewable Energy Standards Modernization Bill
HARRISBURG - April 10, 2019 - State Senators Steven J. Santarsiero (D-10), Art Haywood (D-4), Thomas H. Killion (R-9), and state Representatives Steve McCarter (D-154) and Carolyn Comitta (D-156), were joined by renewable energy advocates in...read more
Advocates for Renewable Energy Speak in Support of Legislation to Expand PA’s Clean Energy Portfolio
HARRISBURG - April 8, 2019 - On April 10 at 2:30pm in the Main Capitol Rotunda, legislators and advocates for renewable energy will speak in support of a bill to expand the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act (AEPS). The legislation to be introduced by...read more
HARRISBURG, April 2, 2019 – State Senator Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) today announced legislation that would help law enforcement crack down on poachers and other forms of wildlife trafficking. “Poachers, traffickers, and criminal organizations are driving...read more
Harrisburg – March 19, 2019 – Sen. Katie Muth (D- Berks/Chester/Montgomery) announced that she will be introducing two pieces of legislation that would mandate specific safety and public awareness standards for pipeline construction and operation. “While...read more
PHILADELPHIA – March 14, 2019 – State Senator Art Haywood (D-Montgomery/Philadelphia) joined PennEnvironment, Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership, Inc., the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, and the Montgomery County Planning Commission for a Town...read more
Senators Haywood, Killion and Santarsiero Offer Bipartisan Bill to Modernize Pennsylvania’s Renewable Energy Standards
HARRISBURG - March 13, 2019 --- State Senator Steven J. Santarsiero, Senator Art Haywood and Senator Thomas H. Killion issued a co-sponsorship memorandum detailing their proposed expansion of the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act (AEPS). AEPS was enacted in...read more
HARRISBURG – March 13, 2019 – A new plan to use revenue generated from an energy extraction tax to provide school funding, safety investments and environmental protection initiatives will soon be introduced by state Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland). “The...read more
HARRISBURG - March 11, 2019 – Earlier today, Senator Tim Kearney (D-Chester/Delaware) joined lawmakers across Delaware County and Chester County in sending a letter to Governor Wolf urging a moratorium on the operation and transmission of Natural Gas Liquids and...read more
HARRISBURG - February 27, 2019 – Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine, testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee today. A major topic of conversation was our region’s PFAS crisis. Addressing this crisis from both an environmental and public...read more
NORTH WALES – February 14, 2019 – The acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Andrew Wheeler, today announced the EPA’s intended nationwide PFAS action plan. Addressing the urgent PFAS crisis is Senator Maria Collett’s (D-12) top...read more
CLAIRTON, February 7, 2019 – With an overflow crowd of steel workers and concerned citizens in attendance at Clairton City Hall, a joint state Senate-House Democratic Policy Committee hearing was held today on ways to improve air quality, community notification...read more
In the wake of the Clairton Coke Works fire, the state Senate and House Democratic Policy committees will hold a joint public hearing on ways to improve air quality, community notification procedures and emergency response. The hearing is scheduled for noon on...read more
WEST CHESTER, January 2, 2019 – State Senators Andy Dinniman and Tom Killion announced today that they have introduced a comprehensive legislative package aimed at reforming Pennsylvania’s pipeline regulatory process to improve safety at schools and in local...read more