I wish I were a fly on that wall

| 24 Jan 2024 | 04:28

    Pennsylvania state legislators are making laws that transition Pennsylvania to a healthy, efficient and climate ready place to be. The PA House has 102 Democrats and 101 Republicans. This narrow partisan divide leads to debate and division on many bills and initiatives. Most environmental laws are “introduced” or “out of committee.” Here’s the journey of one that passed.

    House Resolution 224 is a simple resolution to study solar panels on farms. On December 12, at 3:30 p.m., the House voted to amend the introduced H.R. 224. All 101 Republicans voted for the bill, all 102 Democrats against. At 3:32 p.m., a different amended resolution lost by the same vote – no legislator changed their vote. At 3:38 p.m., the original, introduced resolution passed 102-101 where all Democrats voted for and all Republicans against.

    On the first vote, all of the Republicans wanted bonding and recycling options studied. On the second vote, all of the Republicans wanted a statement that said solar energy is intermittent and not a reliable source of constant energy to the grid. Democrats passed the original resolution without amendments wanted by Republicans.

    These are important and critical initiatives. Such blatant partisanship is not in the people’s best interest. Recycling is needed. Requiring installers to bond their projects has implications for other industries such as oil and gas drilling where drillers often abandon their wells, leaving orphan wells. Transitioning to clean, renewable energy needs thoughtful people, not partisans. I hope the Commission that is directed to study solar panels on farms looks at all the options and benefits.

    Marian Keegan