Land is a finite resource and the Pennsylvania Constitution mandates that “people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.”

Legislation I’m Working On

Senate Bill 1131 − Landslide Insurance and Assistance Program

This legislation would establish the Pennsylvania Landslide Insurance and Assistance Program within the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. This program would be administered by the Landslide Insurance and Assistance Board using the Landslide Insurance Fund and the Landslide Assistance Fund. The Landslide Assistance Fund will receive an initial appropriation of $2.5 million and the Landslide Insurance Fund will also receive an initial appropriation of $2.5 million.

Senate Bill 15 − Meeting Pennsylvania’s Responsibilities for Fighting Climate Change

This legislation will instruct the Pa Department of Environmental Protection, DEP, to revisit the plan that it was pursuing just months ago for submission to the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA. Rather than submit the plan to the EPA, the bill will require the DEP to submit it to the General Assembly in the form of a joint resolution for final approval and subsequent implementation statewide. The Legislature will be given the opportunity to approve, deny or amend the plan.

Climate Change is real, and gases from human activity are the primary driver of that change. Senator Costa has introduced a bill to hold Pennsylvania to the standards of the Paris Climate Accords, even though the United States has pulled out of the agreement. His bill would make huge improvements to the air quality of the state, and keep Pennsylvania on track to reduce emissions in years to come.

The PA Senate Democrats are leading on many other fronts to ensure clean air and water, some of them include:

Severance for Growing Greener

A tax on an environmental resource should be used to benefit the environment. There should be a severance tax to fund a new round of Growing Greener programs. This should include renewable energy investments, cleaning up legacy pollution, protecting and improving watersheds and open spaces, and helping our agricultural industry.

Pipeline Safety

The Marcellus Shale drilling boom and hydraulic fracking have set off a massive pipeline construction surge that is intruding and threatening many communities. Pipelines are encroaching on residential communities, schools, and water sources creating potential hazards that must be addressed. Environmental laws and regulators must keep up with this new phase of construction to protect communities, families, and our children.

Addressing Lead Contamination and Protecting Drinking Water

Many communities in Pennsylvania have lead contamination issues that have to be addressed to protect our drinking water. More needs to be done to remove lead from drinking water systems and to protect children from its developmental impacts.

Maintaining the State Forest Drilling Moratorium

Pennsylvania has an amazing treasure in our state forests and parks; what is left must be protected for the enjoyment and use of our many recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, hiking, and camping.

Latest News

Senator Costa to Introduce Cap and Invest Bill for Pennsylvania

Harrisburg, Pa. − June 6, 2019 − Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa, Jr. today circulated a memo asking for cosponsors for a bill to create a “Cap and Invest” program for the state’s electric power sector. “The federal government has abdicated responsibility on...

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State Senate Committee Holds Second Hearing on Global Warming

PITTSBURGH, April 23, 2019 – At the request of state Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-Forest Hills) and Senator Wayne Fontana (D-Brookline), the Senate Democratic Policy Committee held a hearing today in Pittsburgh on strategies for combatting climate change by...

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‘All Pa. workers have a right to breathe free’

PITTSBURGH, September 11, 2018 – On the 10th anniversary of the start of Pennsylvania’s Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA), elected officials joined with advocates to celebrate the health benefits of a decade of the law and to call for extending those same benefits to all employees in Pennsylvania.

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