Final Budget Bills Littered With Bad Environmental Riders; A Budget That Failed To Address ANY Environmental Shortfalls
“The Senate and House Thursday finished work on the final pieces of the budget revenue package to deal with the state’s $2.2 billion budget deficit and fund the FY 2017-18 budget. . . .With their budget work done, the Senate and House will break for the election and are not scheduled to return to Harrisburg until November 13. . . .
“Environmental riders include–
— Oil and Gas Lease Fund: Transfers $20 million [supposed to be $35 million] from the Oil and Gas Lease Fund to the Marcellus Shale Legacy Fund for distribution to the Environmental Stewardship Fund and $15 million transferred to the Marcellus Legacy Fund to transfer to the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Fund.
— Air Pollution Act Transfer: Transfers $30.4 million from a settlement by the Attorney General relating to violations of the Air Pollution Control Act by Volkswagen received during the fiscal year to the General Fund.
— Small Water And Sewer System Funding: $15 million available for small water and sewer projects with a cost of not less than $30,00 or more than $500,000. Transfers an additional $10 million from Building PA Program to small water and sewer projects.
— Funding Sewer/Water Laterals: Allows public municipal authorities to use funds to replace private water and sewer laterals.
— Susquehanna and Delaware River Basin Commissions: Authorizes the Auditor General to audit the river basin commissions and the commissions shall reimburse the Auditor General for the cost of the audit. In addition, no more than 25 percent of the appropriations to the commissions may be spent in any quarter.
— Increase Access To Natural Gas: $6 million transfer from the Building Pennsylvania Program to the Natural Gas Infrastructure Development Fund to improve access to retail use of natural gas for schools, hospitals and businesses.
— Repeals Drilling Moratorium End Date In Southeast: Repeals the January 1, 2018 expiration on the drilling moratorium in the South Newark Basin in Southeast PA.
— Temporary Cessation Of Oil & Gas Wells: Provisions relating to payments of royalties during periods of nonproduction.
— Washington Crossing State Park: Requires DCNR to spend $2.2 million on maintenance and upkeep of the park.”