Our Perspectives on the Latest Issues
With the close of the legislative session in Harrisburg at the end of November came significant victories for Pennsylvania’s environmental protection, as a handful of bills were halted thanks to our work in the Capitol, and thanks to the many citizens who took action by contacting their elected officials.
This would not have been possible without the advocacy and hard work from PennFuture staff, members, supporters, and partners across the environmental and conservation community in Pennsylvania. Through action alert emails that engaged citizens with their elected officials, in-district constituent meetings with members of the General Assembly, calls to offices, sign-on letters with partner organizations and coalitions, and multiple lobby days, our presence and direct opposition to these bills truly had an impact.
While advancing proactive, offensive, good environmental legislation remains a challenge in Harrisburg, PennFuture and partners killed, blocked, and bottled-up a host of anti-environmental and pro-fossil fuel bills and policies in the recent previous legislative session. Below, please find a summary of the good, bad and ugly bills we engaged with over this last legislative session.
In terms of "regulatory reform,” which is really just another term for “rollbacks,” PennFuture and partners killed a number of dangerous bills in the General Assembly, including:
In terms of fossil fuel subsidies and giveaways, PennFuture and partners killed a number of dangerous bills in the General Assembly, including:
In terms of raiding environmental protection & conservation in the state’s budgets and special funds, PennFuture and partners killed a number of dangerous bills in the General Assembly, including:
Unfortunately, Harrisburg has offered up few bright spots in terms of legislative offensive victories that are pro-environment during this last two-year legislative session, but state lawmakers did a few, great things:
A few terrible pieces of legislation passed through the General Assembly and secured the Governor’s signature this year, mostly via nefarious policy riders to the fiscal codes of budget packages that PennFuture and partners will continue to fight back against, including:
What Legislation We Expect to See Next Session (2021-22):
Several beneficial bills advancing clean energy, environmental protection and conservation have failed to pass this session, but we will continue to advocate for them next year alongside partners. Here’s what to look for in the coming months in terms of the work ahead:
Advancing Clean & Renewable Energy
Advancing Environmental Protections & Holding Polluters Accountable
Advancing Clean Water Legislation
Advancing Equity and Funding for Green Stimulus & Recovery
PennFuture and partners in the environmental and conservation community will again be busy in defensive work. 2021 is setting up to be a year of more hope and opportunity, but many of the same legislative themes will persist. Pennsylvania legislators will likely take yet another crack at “Regulatory Reform” legislation such as the “Office of the Repealer” bill, more legislation attempting to eviscerate the Commonwealth’s Clean Streams Law, and more fossil fuel subsidies like the recent waste coal giveaways and the behemoth gifts to the petrochemical industry outlined in the Energize Pennsylvania plan.
What’s more, we’re likely to continue playing defense against austere and draconian budget cuts to our agencies and dedicated funds for environmental protection and conservation.
For now, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and State Senate will return to Harrisburg on January 5th to swear-in new Members of the General Assembly, but the two legislative bodies will likely not be back in full swing (and voting session) until mid-late January. Very soon thereafter, Governor Wolf will introduce his proposed state budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year and agency budget hearings for the Appropriations Committees will begin their work in earnest.
We will continue to advocate for a clean and responsible state budget, track and advance legislation that protects our environment, act on climate, and we will defend against any attacks on our Commonwealth’s crucial clean air, water, and natural resource protections.
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