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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20150&cosponId=20173
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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: May 4, 2016 03:29 PM
From: Representative Cris Dush
To: All House members
Subject: Environmental Quality Board (EQB) Reform
 
Please join me as a cosponsor of legislation that will strengthen the independence and integrity of the Environmental Quality Board (EQB). The EQB is a 20-member independent board within the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) that is charged with adopting Pennsylvania’s environmental regulations.

Because of its nature as an independent board, the EQB serves a critical role in the oversight of the executive branch to ensure that the Commonwealth’s environmental regulations protect the public interest.

Currently, the EQB consists of 20 members, with 11 members from the executive branch, five members from the Citizens Advisory Council, and four members of the legislature, each appointed by their respective caucus leadership.
The Secretary of DEP is both a voting member of the board and serves as its chair. However, this runs counter to the board’s role as an independent check on the power of the DEP. My legislation restores the balance by removing the secretary from the EQB and making the chair of the board an elected position from among the members.

Further, to maintain adequate legislative oversight, the majority and minority chairs of the Environmental Resources and Energy Committees would become permanent members of the board. The four legislative appointees that had been reserved for legislators would instead be opened for members of the public, as appointed by the four legislative caucus leaders. Finally, the number of members which constitutes quorum is adjusted in this legislation to reflect the additional members.

Taken together, I believe that these reforms would improve the independence of the EQB, which serves to improve the quality of environmental regulations. Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

CD/mh/cmc

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Introduced as HB2275