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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: January 18, 2023 02:47 PM
From: Representative Donna Bullock and Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, Rep. Christopher M. Rabb
To: All House members
Subject: Environmental Justice - Permit Applications
For too long, environmental racism has plagued burdened communities. Incinerators, landfills, sewage plants and the like are often built in low-income areas because the residents of these areas typically lack the clout necessary to influence decision-makers. As a result, the people in these communities are powerless to stop facilities that pollute the local environment, drive down property values, and even poison the citizens as chemicals seep into the water they drink and air they breathe.

To help address this issue, we will be introducing legislation that would require a more transparent and open process before certain facilities are built or expanded within areas defined as “burdened communities.” Builders of these facilities seeking permits would first have to prepare an environmental impact statement that includes any potential negative impacts a facility may have on the surrounding area. After the completion of this process, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection would have the power to deny a permit application if it finds that the cumulative impacts of the facility on the community would be too great to justify its approval.

The constitutional right to a clean environment is guaranteed to all, not only to those with the funding to lobby government officials. This legislation would be another step towards upholding that right. We ask that you join us in co-sponsoring this effort to ensure that the voices of all are heard before decisions that impact public health and safety are made.

Introduced as HB652