Clean Water Action Calls on Lawmakers to Reject Cuts to DEP

State lawmakers are set to vote on  $160 million in budget cuts to the PA Department of Environmental Protection

In Pennsylvania this week, the Republican-controlled PA senate approved a new budget without a gas tax or impact fee. PA remains the only gas drilling state without one. Anti-gas-tax Governor Tom Corbett’s administration is issuing drilling permits (primarily in the Upper Delaware) with mercurial speed. At the same time, they are cutting funding to the Department of Environmental Protection. Regulation is one thing, enforcement quite another. And fracking’s cumulative impacts are already accumulating.

Corbett would like to table the frack-tax debate indefinitely, but even a steadily increasing number of house Republicans are growing impatient with all the lost revenue. On July 22, the Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission’s final report is due on Corbett’s desk. Until then, he’s promised to veto any gas tax or impact fee. Maybe he figures drillers can afford to regulate themselves?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE [Harrisburg, June 28, 2011] – Clean Water Action called on state legislators today to reject proposed cuts in the budget of the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). For the third year in a row DEP’s budget would be cut, with an additional $10 million cut for 2011-2012, and an overall cut of 38% to the agency since 2008.

Leadership of the State House and Senate released yesterday details on the state budget that lawmakers will vote on this week. Myron Arnowitt, PA State Director for Clean Water Action stated, “Lawmakers who vote to cut DEP’s budget year after year are voting for less protection for our water, our air, and our families. These legislators are choosing to reduce our protections at a time when most Pennsylvanians are looking for more oversight on pollution.” SOURCE: http://www.cleanwateraction.org/pa

TAKE ACTION!

VISIT: http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/2155/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=7031

EMAIL: the letter below to Governor Tom Corbett and PA House Representives, Daylin Leach (D-17th District) and Mike Gerber (D-148th District). To look up you local district/representatives, go to: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator

Re: Please say no to more DEP budget cuts!

Dear Pennsylvania Legislator:

I am writing to you today to ask that you restore the Department of Environmental Inspection’s budget back to it’s 2008 levels.

Even that level is inadequate, but we need to begin restoring our DEP to a robust state. In light of the growing threat from hydrofracking, we need a DEP that can visit a well site each time a well is sited, drilled, cased, completed, altered or stimulated (as required in PA Code).

Further, we need a water monitoring network that is up to the task of monitoring for radiation and petrochemicals that are tell-tale signs of best management practices failing at natural gas sites.

Lastly, since 2000, DEP is conducting dramatically fewer discretionary inpsections of community water systems, despite the fact that the state has more potential sources for contamination than ever. This is inexcusable.

Please vote against any final state budget that cuts DEP further. Please speak to your leadership, speak out in committee and do what you can to demand that we restore the dramatic loss in funding we’ve seen for the Commonwealth’s eco-cops.

Sincerely,

Your Name & Address (Required)

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