WEST CHESTER (October 20) – State Senator Andy Dinniman attained a perfect environmental voting record in the recently completed legislation session, according to the Environmental Scorecard recently released by the Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania, Clean Water Action and the Sierra Club.

Among the 253 state lawmakers, Dinniman was one of only 30 to achieve a 100 percent rating for his record on votes in favor of water quality, green building, natural resources and responsible DEP leadership. The average score for state senators was 41 percent. For House members it was 48 percent.

The scorecard’s authors looked at a number of critical votes:IMG_5663

  • The October 14 vote on House Bill 1565, which rolled back the requirement that developers leave a 150-foot riparian buffer along Exceptional Value and High Quality streams.
  • The October 14 vote on House Bill 2354, which lessened state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) experts’ authority to reduce carbon pollution as will be required under the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.
  • The December 2013 confirmation of Chris Abruzzo as Pennsylvania DEP Secretary. During the confirmation process Abruzzo denied that there are any negative effects from climate change.
  • Senate Bill 739, which sought to transfer $10 million from a state green-building program to natural-gas expansion.
  • Act 41 of 2013, which struck down the DEP’s planned anti-degradation policy for Exceptional Value (EV) and High Quality (HQ) watersheds and thus lowered the minimal environmental requirements for creating on-lot sewage systems within such watersheds.
  • The 2013-14 budget, which raised $95 million for the state’s Oil and Gas Lease Fund by opening state parks and state forests to additional natural gas drilling and also reduced funding for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Delaware River Basin Commission.
  • Act 126 of 2014, the fiscal code that transferred the $95 million out of the Oil and Gas Lease Fund (which was created in 1955 to fund conservation, recreation, dams and flood-control projects) and gave it to the general fund.

“All these bills and votes violated the letter or the spirit of Pennsylvania’s constitutional obligation to maintain its natural resources ‘for generations yet to come’ and that is why I voted no on each and every one of them,” Dinniman said. “A couple of times – too few times – we  voted on legislation that upheld and honored Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, which says ‘The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment.’ That is a trend I want to see more of next session.”

In terms of positive legislation Dinniman was referring to Act 68 of 2013, the legislation he voted for to give municipalities the ability to create stormwater authorities and thus better manage stormwater and lessen streambank erosion and sedimentation.

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