Environment and Natural Resources Policy

 

The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry believes that environmental excellence and economic growth are mutually-compatible objectives, and that environmental and natural resources laws and programs should be framed and implemented to concurrently meet these twin objectives. The PA Chamber advocates for environmental laws, regulations and policies that:


  • are based on sound science and a careful assessment of environmental objectives, risks, alternatives, costs, and economic and other impacts;
  • set environmental protection goals, while allowing and encouraging flexibility and creativity in their achievement;
  • allow market-based approaches to seek attainment of environmental goals in the most cost-effective manner;
  • measure success based on environmental health and quality metrics rather than fines and penalties;
  • do not impose costs which are unjustified compared to actual benefits achieved;
  • do not exceed federal requirements unless there is a clear, broadly accepted, scientifically-based need considering conditions particular to Pennsylvania; an
  • develop a private-public relationship which promotes working together to meet proper compliance.


As part of a sustainable economic and environmental policy, the PA Chamber supports natural resources management laws and programs that encourage the scientifically-sound conservation, stewardship and development of Pennsylvania’s natural resources (including water, timber, minerals, oil and gas) for the benefit of all Pennsylvanians. Additionally, the PA Chamber supports the voluntary pollution prevention and sustainability measures, and environmental management systems utilized by companies to efficiently and effectively meet environmental regulatory requirements and utilize resources to meet their financial and business objectives.


Air:
The PA Chamber advocates for cost effective air laws, regulations and policies based on sound principles that are reasonable and technologically and economically feasible to protect and enhance public health and the environment without placing in-state businesses at a competitive disadvantage. With regard to greenhouse gas emissions, the PA Chamber supports efforts in Pennsylvania which balance societal environmental, energy, and economic objectives, fit rationally within any finally adopted and applicable national or international strategy, and capitalize on the availability of Pennsylvania’s diverse natural resources to facilitate economic development in the Commonwealth.


Waste:
The PA Chamber advocates for laws, regulations and policies for waste management that are based on sound principles and encourage conservation, waste reduction, recycling and beneficial reuse. The PA Chamber supports policies that will provide proper treatment and disposal of waste materials and oppose policies that seek to increase the costs of waste handling, treatment and disposal without a commensurate benefit to human health or the environment.


Water:
The PA Chamber advocates for water laws, regulations and policies that treat both water quality and quantity issues in a balanced and fair manner. We believe that water quality management should address both point and non-point sources equitably and proportional to their contribution to water quality challenges. The PA Chamber supports implementation of creative, well-structured and stable market-based approaches as part of a holistic water resources approach, including trading mechanisms that will result in an overall improvement in water quality while providing for innovation and flexibility among trading partners. The PA Chamber supports the improvement of Pennsylvania water use information and planning programs to provide an adequate basis for assessing current and potential future water resource challenges, and providing a sound basis for public and private decisions.


Stormwater:
Management of stormwater represents an ongoing and growing water quality and quantity (storm flow, flooding and groundwater recharge) challenge across Pennsylvania, impacting communities with both combined sewer systems and municipal separate storm sewer systems. Meeting that challenge will require well-targeted programs and infrastructure investments coordinated and implemented on a multi-municipality, watershed basis. The PA Chamber supports development and implementation of cost-effective stormwater planning, regulatory and infrastructure investment programs, coordinated at the county and/or watershed level, including utilization of community based public-private partnerships and stormwater authorities and utilities. Costs of stormwater programs should be allocated and shared on an equitable basis among properties in a watershed considering their relative contributions to stormwater runoff, with appropriate credits given to the investments made by industrial and commercial property owners in implementing on-site stormwater management controls to avoid or mitigate stormwater impacts.


Land Use Planning:
Effective regulation requires simple, expeditious and efficient procedures to obtain approvals required for land use. Clear delineations must be made between the role of local land use planning and regulation and the responsibility of state government with respect to the permitting and regulation of air quality, water resources and water quality, solid waste management, and critical mineral resources. Environmental laws and regulations should be established and enforced on a consistent statewide basis and should not be used as a method of controlling local land use and development.


Natural Resources Management:

Pennsylvania’s natural resources, including coal and non-coal minerals, oil, gas, water, and timber, are essential components of the Commonwealth’s economy and environment. The PA Chamber supports management approaches that assure sustainable management methods for renewable natural resources (such as water and timber) and that promote reasonable and environmentally-sound development of non-renewable resources (such as coal and other minerals). The PA Chamber also supports the thoughtful, planned development of publicly-owned natural resources on state-owned lands (such as forests and game lands) consistent with multi-purpose management of those public lands, and opposes moratoriums or similar mechanisms which hinder such development.