Even in the midst of a viral pandemic, anti-environmental legislators in the Pennsylvania General Assembly are using the COVID-19 public health crisis as a cover to move bills to block any proposed or final environmental regulations.
On April 17, House State Government Chair Garth Everett (R-Lycoming) introduced House Bill 2416, which would stop any proposed or final environmental regulation from being finalized until at least 90 days after the March 6th COVID-19 emergency declaration by the Governor is terminated.
In addition, the House Rules Committee added legislative language identical to HB 2416 in a fast-moving administrative code bill, Senate Bill 327. On April 27, the House passed SB 327 and sent it to the Senate for its approval.
These identical bills seek to undermine the power of regulatory agencies that are tasked with protecting public health.
New research has already shown that air pollution increases the risk for poor health outcomes related to the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no good time to suspend or roll back environmental regulations, but a global health emergency is a particularly awful time.
Our elected officials should not be using the ongoing pandemic is an excuse to block any proposed regulations that are meant to protect us and our shared environment.