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PA Legislature Moves to Block Fee Schedule Changes That Would Ensure DEP’s Air Quality Program Has Funds to Do Its Job (But YOU Can Help)

A legislative committee has stymied efforts by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to usher in long-sought proposed revisions to its Air Quality Program fee schedule.  

These fees are critical to the operation of DEP’s Air Quality Program, which works to protect public health and Pennsylvania’s environment by administering and enforcing air pollution laws. 

DEP’s Title V fees haven’t been raised since 2013 and the account will run a deficit beginning in the fiscal year 2023-24 if fees are not increased. Its non-Title V fees were last increased in 2005, with that account expected to run at a deficit in 2020-21 if action is not taken.

That resolution from the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, chaired by state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler County, unveiled the concurrent resolution to disapprove the revisions on Sept. 28. 

“That resolution prevents the revisions from being published in final form, and thus from taking final effect, while the process spelled out by Pennsylvania’s Regulatory Review Act occurs,” GASP senior staff attorney John Baillie said.

Here’s what he said the process looks like:

First, the resolution will head to the full House and Senate for votes that must occur within 10 legislative session days or 30 calendar days – whichever one is longer. If both chambers reject the proposed revisions by voting to approve the concurrent resolution, the matter then goes to Gov. Tom Wolf for his signature.

“If the concurrent resolution is not approved by both houses, the revisions may be published and can become effective,” Baillie explained. “If the Governor signs the approved concurrent resolution or does not act on it, the revisions may not be published and will not become effective.”

Wolf could opt to veto the concurrent resolution, which would pave the way for the new fee schedule to be published and go into effect, but procedurally, the General Assembly could then work to override that veto.

“All of this should play out in the next month or two according to the timelines established by the Regulatory Review Act, provided that an outbreak of COVID-19 does not prevent the General Assembly from meeting,” he added.

GASP will keep you posted on this developing story. But in the meantime, YOU can help.

Contact your state representatives and let them know you support the fee schedule changes. Not sure who your rep/senator is or need their contact info? No problem, you can type in your mailing address here to find that information.

You can copy, paste, and personalize this message when you do:

Dear Rep./Senator,

My name is __________ and I live in ____________. I am writing today to urge you to support the fee schedule proposed by the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Air Quality Program and vote AGAINST House Concurrent Regulatory Review Resolution #3.

Air quality remains a serious public health issue in Pennsylvania, where all residents have a right to clean air. It is imperative that DEP’s Air Quality Program have sufficient funding to do its job.

Thank you,

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