— House Environmental Resources and Energy (ERE) Committee Majority Chairman Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) convened a voting meeting today to adopt a letter (excerpted below) directing the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) to reject Environmental Quality Board (EQB) Regulation 7-536:
“The Committee voted today, Sept. 15, in favor of sending you this letter
disapproving of the regulation regarding the Air Quality Fee Schedule on behalf of our constituents and businesses. As the standing House Committee with legislative oversight over the DEP, it is our role to ensure that regulations proposed by DEP through the EQB are reasonable, consistent with the intent of the Acts on which they are based, and proposed in a manner consistent with the law.
“Almost every part of our economy, including the businesses that would be impacted by these new fees and fee increases, has been utterly devastated by the COVID-19 outbreak.
“DEP’s decision to plow forward with these new fees and fee increases at this moment when so many Pennsylvanians are hurting and unemployed and when so many of our businesses are struggling to survive and these vital decisions are being made is completely unacceptable. It is the role of government to do everything it can to aid in our economic recovery by doing everything it can to help the business community at this time. This regulation would do the absolute opposite at this critical time by putting up clear signs that Pennsylvania is not open for businesses and investment.
“DEP notes that it needs to generate more revenue because the primary fees it is currently collecting are based on the amount of emissions of regulated pollutants, which have decreased by 41% since 2000 and are continuing to decrease. This decrease in emissions demonstrates that Pennsylvania’s business community has been successfully improving the air quality within our state over the past decades.
“At a fundamental level, if DEP believes it needs more funding for this program, this is a policy decision which must be made through changes to the statute or by an increase in appropriations through the budgetary process. DEP must involve the General Assembly.
“We therefore ask IRRC to disapprove this regulation in its final form since the provisions of the regulation are unreasonable. We urge the EQB and DEP to withdraw this final regulation. We, the undersigned members of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, write this letter to draw your attention to our concerns and disapproval of this final regulation and respectfully ask for your consideration.”
Representative Daryl Metcalfe
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Ty McCauslin, 717.772.9979