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Senate/House Agenda/Session Schedule/Gov’s Schedule/ Bills Introduced

Here are the Senate and House Calendars for the next voting session day and Committees scheduling action on bills of interest as well as a list of new environmental bills introduced--

Bill Calendars

House (June 26): House Bill 1469 (Heffley-R-Carbon) authorize municipalities to use third-party agencies to enforce the Uniform Construction Code;  House Resolution 284 (Moul-R-Adams) urging Congress to repeal the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s MS4 Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program (sponsor summary).  <> Click Here for full House Bill Calendar.

Senate (June 26): Senate Bill 658 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) designating the eastern hellbender as the state amphibian (sponsor summary); Senate Bill 692 (Blake-D-Lackawanna) amends to Sewage Facilities Act to increase what a local agency may charge from $25 to $100 (sponsor summary); House Bill 187 (Sonney-R-Erie) further authorize wind energy facilities on preserved farmland (House Fiscal Note and summary);  House Bill 790 (Pashinski-D-Luzerne) establishing the Controlled Plant and Noxious Weed Committee (House Fiscal Note and summary).  <> Click Here for full Senate Bill Calendar. 

Committee Meeting Agendas This Week

Note: This is budget week.  House and Senate committees can add and cancel meetings with little notice.

House: the State Government Committee holds a hearing on the Susquehanna River Basin Commission and concerns about regulatory overreach in Shrewsbury Borough, York County; the Consumer Affairs Committee meets to consider House Bill 1563 (Reese-R-Somerset) requiring consent for sharing information from electricity smart meters (sponsor summary); the Transportation Committee meets to consider Senate Bill 589 (Langerholc-R-Bedford) increasing maximum allowable weight for natural gas vehicles (sponsor summary); the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee meets to consider -- Senate Bill 646 (Killion-R-Delaware) would prevent a funding crisis in the state’s Recycling Program by eliminating the expiration date for the Act 101 $2 per ton recycling fee on waste disposed in Pennsylvania,  Senate Bill 144 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) amending Act 537 ton include alternative on-lot sewage systems in sewage plans (sponsor summary).  <>  Click Here for full House Committee Schedule.

Senate: the Appropriations Committee meets to consider House Bill 290 (Metzgar-R-Bedford) providing for legislative appointments to the Underground Storage Tank Indemnification Board, fills a gap in funding for DEP’s Storage Tank Program and extends the sunset date for the environmental cleanup programs for storage tanks, Senate Bill 431 (Scavello-R-Monroe) increasing penalties for littering and illegal dumping. Rules Room; the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee is scheduled to consider Senate Bill 792 (Alloway-R-Adams) regulating the application of law fertilizer (sponsor summary); the Labor and Industry Committee meets to consider House Bill 409 (Evankovich-R-Allegheny) making changes to the process for adopting amendments to the Uniform Construction Code (House Fiscal Note and summary). <>  Click Here for full Senate Committee Schedule.

Other: the Joint Legislative Budget and Finance Committee meets to release a report on PA’s Program For Beneficial Use Of Biosolids (Sewage Sludge).

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.

Here are links to key Standing Committees in the House and Senate and the bills pending in each--

House

Appropriations

Education 

Environmental Resources and Energy

Consumer Affairs

Gaming Oversight

Human Services

Judiciary

Liquor Control

Transportation

Links for all other Standing House Committees

Senate

Appropriations

Environmental Resources and Energy

Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure

Community, Economic and Recreational Development

Education

Judiciary

Law and Justice

Public Health and Welfare

Transportation

Links for all other Standing Senate Committees

Bills Introduced

The following bills of interest were introduced last week--

Regulating Fertilizer: Senate Bill 792 (Alloway-R-Adams) regulating the application of lawn fertilizer and requiring professional fertilizer applicators to be certified (sponsor summary).

Clean Water Procurement Program: Senate Bill 799 (Alloway-R-Adams) establishing the Clean Water Procurement Program (sponsor summary).   (Much more to come on this one next week.)  Here’s a quick summary--

             Senate Bill 799, promoted by Bion Environmental Technologies, would require any municipality (not public authorities that hold the permits for wastewater plans required to make reductions) and public stormwater authorities anywhere in the state that discharges nitrogen or phosphorus into the waters of the Commonwealth to pay, in aggregate, $50 million annually for 10 years to raise $500 million.

            The funds are used, according to the bill, to pay for practices that reduce nitrogen and phosphorus pollutants going into rivers and streams that make up the Chesapeake Bay Watershed drainage area in Pennsylvania, about half the state.

            In return, DEP is required to transfer the total nutrient reduction mandates (met and unmet, it is not clear) from the municipalities or public stormwater authorities to the competitive bidding program established in the legislation. 

            The municipalities and stormwater authorities in turn are “absolved” of any further responsibility for implementing those reduction requirements forever. 

            The bill requires the State Conservation Commission administer the overall bidding program and adopting regulations implementing it.

            The first task for the Commission involves determining the unmet nitrogen and phosphorus reductions required by TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) Plans across the Commonwealth over three years only.  The program in the bill is a 10 year funding program.

            Based on that number for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, the PA Infrastructure Investment Authority will put out a Request for Proposals to solicit proposals to meet the unmet nitrogen and phosphorus reductions in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed drainage area only.

            Proposals can only be solicited from vendors approved under the Commonwealth Procurement Code administered by the Department of General Services, which municipalities are not authorized to participate in, so they are excluded from bidding.

            The bid process and effective dates of the nutrient credits must also specifically account for “the time frame necessary for the permitting and development of public or private credit generator facilities.”  Which apparently means 10-year credits are not really 10-year credits, but something a whole lot less.

            Presumably, the Commission (or it could be PennVEST since it puts out the RFP) then makes awards of grants based on the bids for practices to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed to be paid for from the fund financed by municipalities and stormwater authorities from across the state.

            The bill contains a very general provision that requires any load reduction activity to meet “the requirements of any applicable offset program in force regarding the Chesapeake Bay.”

            The bill provides a set aside of 20 percent of the winning bid credits so small sources (unclear who that is) that install best management practices can sell credits for those practices at the winning bid price.

            The program outlines a 10 year program, but does not address what happens after that time.

Natural Resources Trust Fund: House Bill 1601 (Hanna-D-Centre) establish a Public Natural Resources Trust Fund into which the proceeds of oil and gas development on  DCNR lands would be deposited with some funds set aside in a special account managed by the State Treasurer when funds exceed $70 million annually (sponsor summary).

Session Schedule

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

Senate

June 26, 27, 28, 29, 30

House

June 26, 27, 28, 29, 30

Governor’s Schedule

Gov. Tom Wolf's work calendar will be posted each Friday and his public schedule for the day will be posted each morning.   Click Here to view Gov. Wolf’s Weekly Calendar and Public Appearances.


6/26/2017

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