Thursday, June 9, 2011

DEP Budget Cut Through The Bone

The House of Representatives set the state general fund contribution to running the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection at $136 million or more than $2 million less than the $138.2 million budget proposed by Governor Corbett.

Governor Corbett's state funding budget for DEP in turn was more than $7.2 million less than the DEP budget of $145.2 million for the current fiscal year that ends on June 30.

To make matters even worse, vital fee packages that would pay for air permitting and inspections, mining program operations, regulation of water systems have stopped dead in the water.  The fee packages that would charge those using services for a portion of the cost of providing the service (not the entire cost) would generate between $20 million to $25 million. 

DEP cannot do its mission reasonably, let alone address the growing challenges it faces, with a budget effectively below $170 million. 

There are two ways to get to $170 million for the coming year. 

Method one: set the state general fund contribution at $170 million.

Method two: set the state general fund contribution at $145 million and enact immediately the fee packages that should have been finished by now to bring in another $25 million.

The state will finish on June 30th the fiscal year with approximately a $600 million surplus.  Using a tiny portion of that surplus and moving forward the stalled fee packages to give DEP a barebones budget to protect our health, environment and safety should be a no-brainer.


  1. Concerned ScientistJune 9, 2011 at 11:35 AM

    Republicans end up hurting industry by deregulation and gutting regulatory agencies. Most companies want to do the right thing. Some may complain about regulation, but it is good for their overall health as well as the health of the state and the nation to have strong regulations. Then the real competition is on who can do a good job in the best way. Not on who can cut the most corners. Deregulation mainly favors bad actors.

    The only way to support Marcellus development is with strong regulations that are closely enforced. Lax regulations with less enforcement leads to a race to the bottom. Races to the bottom lead to things like the BP Horizon disaster and the financial meltdown. Industry should support candidates who support strong regulation because it is good for them and their business.

  2. If anyone wants to take action on precisely this issue, Clean Water Action made an e-action on it that went up just today:

    Click it now and tell your State Senator and Rep not to cut DEP.

    The text of the message is fully editable, so if you like John's message above you can cut and paste it into the text. You can even completely replace our text with his message, if you like.