Yesterday I wrote about a really, really bad bill that was up for a House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee vote yesterday. House Bill 1659 would allow polluters to shop around to find private consultants to do reviews for their pollution control permits.
Well, the committee did indeed consider the bill. The committee adopted an amendment offered by Rep. Evankovich (R-Armstrong/Westmoreland) that took out the specific language about the private permit contractors but inserted requiring DEP to “implement a plan to use qualified non-departmental employees…to enhance the timeliness and effectiveness of the permit review process…” Rep. Vitali (D-Delaware) distributed amendments that he says he will offer on the floor if and when the bill gets there.
The bill is still a stinker. It still sets up a pollution permit shopping mall; it still has tight deadlines for permit reviews and still requires DEP to automatically approve permit applications if it does not meet the deadlines.
The committee approved the bill on an 18 to 5 vote. This is one bill that should be buried. However, if it lives and gets to the floor, it should be defeated.