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.
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.
Clairton, February 7, 2019 – With an overflow crowd of steel workers and concerned citizens in attendance at Clairton City Hall, a joint state Senate-House Democratic Policy Committee hearing was held today on ways to improve air quality, community notification...read more
McKeesport – January 25, 2019 – State Sens. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland), Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) and state Reps. Bill Kortz (D-Allegheny) and Austin Davis (D-Allegheny) received an update from officials from the Allegheny County Health Department concerning the Dec. 24 fire at U.S. Steel’s Clairton Coke Works.read more
PITTSBURGH, November 14, 2018 − Today, Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa, Jr. announced the award of nearly $700,000 in grants for community conservation projects in the 43rd Senatorial District. “These grants are a worthwhile investment to protect our natural...read more
HARRISBURG, October 17, 2018 – State Senators Wayne D. Fontana (D-Allegheny), Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) and Randy Vulakovich (R-Allegheny) today announced $49 million in state funds to replace 28,000 residential lead lateral connections in Pittsburgh. “I am pleased that...read more
HARRISBURG, PA, September 25, 2018 – The Environmental Protection Agency will hold a public meeting in Pittsburgh today regarding a proposal to eliminate fuel economy standards on vehicles; Senator Costa submitted written testimony in opposition as he was unable...read more
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.read more
Harrisburg – June 13, 2017 – Committed to positioning Pennsylvania as a leader in the battle against global climate change, Sens. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny), Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny) and Anthony Williams (D-Philadelphia/Delaware), along with Pittsburgh Mayor...read more
Harrisburg – June 3, 2017 – Stunned at President Donald J. Trump’s dismissal of climate change and abandonment of the Paris climate accord, Senators Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) and Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny) today stated their intentions to position Pennsylvania to lead...read more
Harrisburg, April 21, 2017 — Efforts to educate local students about environmental issues will be bolstered by more than $50,000 in state Environmental Education Grant funding, Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) announced today. “There is nothing more important than providing...read more
Harrisburg – October 23, 2013 – More than $5 million in low-interest loans for sewer projects in the City of Pittsburgh were approved by the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) today, according to state Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny.) “The new...read more