Protecting the land, air, and water which we all share and upon which we all depend must be a priority for our elected leaders. As your State Senator, I will be an outspoken advocate for protecting our environment and making sure we all have a clean, safe and healthy environment.
The 48th Senate District is a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family. This a beautiful community with rolling hills, woodlands, and some of the most fertile agricultural land in the Commonwealth. I believe we need to protect those natural resources that make our community and our Commonwealth so special. As your State Senator, I will fight for environmental regulations that safeguard all of us without burdening the agricultural community and I will work to increase funding for the PA Department of Environmental Protection so that it can effectively and efficiently enforce those regulations.
I support proper, scientifically driven regulation of the natural gas industry. The drilling industry and the pipeline industry need to be properly regulated to ensure the safety of our community and communities throughout Pennsylvania.
The advent of drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale regions of Pennsylvania has introduced a host of environmental and regulatory concerns to Pennsylvania. Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” is a very controversial method for extracting natural gas reserves found deep in the earth that represents a threat to the environment. Beyond the direct consequences of fracking, and regardless of what safeguards on put in place to regulate the fracking process, once extracted, Pennsylvania’s abundance of natural gas is transported across the state and around the country. The primary way in which this natural gas is transported is via pipeline, and we have already seen pipeline construction touch our community in ways that raise questions about the use of eminent domain and proper procedures. Again, this is an area of deep concern for all of us, and it must be handled responsibly and properly regulated.
Unfortunately for all of us, Harrisburg has deferred to the gas industry and its lobbyists on creating environmental regulations. Our first attempt at regulation, called Act 13, failed to properly regulate the industry and keep us safe, and it failed to enact a meaningful extraction fee that would have benefitted all Pennsylvania taxpayers. Ultimately, the courts struck down much of this law, which was written by the industry and its lobbyists, but our current representatives have failed to take action to replace that law with more meaningful legislation that protects us, our communities and our environment. Currently, there is no agency that reviews the siting of pipelines, and there is inadequate regulation of the construction, operation, and maintenance of pipelines.
I will support real regulation of the gas industry from drilling to pipelines. I will support increased funding for the DEP so that agency can do its job and enforce the regulations that protect all of us, and I will fight for a meaningful extraction fee on drillers and pipeline operators so that they are paying their fair share not only to offset the cost of regulation but also to give relief to the taxpayers of Pennsylvania. After all, it is our gas they are extracting, and we deserve to participate in the financial rewards, funds which will help us advance shared statewide priorities like funding education and investing in economic development projects that will make Pennsylvania strong now and in the future.
Conservation and Agriculture
Protecting the environment is not just about protecting our land, air, and water; it is about preserving what makes our community, and Pennsylvania, so special. I have worked for farmland preservation, am a Grange member, and lived on a farm. We need to appreciate how critical the agricultural industry and our local farmers are to our state and to the nation.
As Chair of the Lancaster County Planning Commission, I helped bring developers and preservationists together to create a plan to balance the interests of everyone. I understand how important it is to preserve our natural resources and our agricultural heritage, while still planning for the kind of growth that will make our community stronger. I will use all of that experience to advocate for conservation, smart growth, and the agricultural community.