Krueger-Braneky: Fiscal code veto a win for environment and clean air

HARRISBURG, March 24 – State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware, released the following statement on Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan to veto the fiscal code bill:

“This entire budget process has been a disappointment. From the lackadaisical attitude of the Republican leadership and their refusal to compromise, to the Speaker of the House adjourning session in December when we were poised to end this impasse, it has been a sobering look at how partisan Harrisburg has become.

“However, there is one silver lining to the budget process. The disastrous attempt to load the fiscal code with language intended to gut environmental protections was totally reprehensible, but Governor Wolf’s veto of that bill is a win for Pennsylvania. Perhaps the attempt shouldn’t have come as a surprise, given the Republican leadership’s refusal to even consider a severance tax, even though it has bipartisan support and the overwhelming majority of Pennsylvanians support it.

“This attempt to derail the Department of Environmental Protection included language that would give either chamber of the General Assembly the power to veto any Clean Power Plan drafted by DEP even if the other chamber approved it. Not only is the concept of a one-chamber veto entirely unconstitutional, it’s meant to delay much needed improvements by our energy sector to reduce carbon pollution.

“As if that isn’t enough, the fiscal code bill aimed to give approximately $12 million in new handouts to gas companies at the expense of alternative energy sources. At a time when the overwhelming majority of scientists have stated that climate change is a problem, it’s bad policy to take money away from alternative energy investments and give it to gas and oil corporations.

“Pennsylvania needs to become a leader in reducing carbon pollution and finding ways to power our lives through renewable energy. Prior to being elected to represent Delaware County, I’ve helped numerous local businesses become more environmentally sustainable and viable and can say with certainty that it is possible to do without harming profits or losing jobs. There are tremendous economic development opportunities and job creation possibilities if we choose to invest in clean energy instead of dirty energy.

“I applaud Governor Wolf’s decision to veto this egregious attempt at undermining Pennsylvania’s environmental protections and ensure that certain legislators cannot give handouts to the oil and gas industry while hamstringing DEP. I’ll continue to fight so that future generations in Delaware County and all around Pennsylvania have clean air, clean water and a healthy future.”