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05/18/2024 04:07 AM
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: March 22, 2024 11:01 AM
From: Senator Doug Mastriano
To: All Senate members
Subject: Updating the PA Cloud Seeding Licensure Law
Soon, I will introduce legislation amending the PA Cloud Seeding Licensure Law to ensure the skies over Pennsylvania are protected well into the future.

Enshrined in Article 1, Section 27 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania is the people’s “right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment.”

In 1967, the General Assembly passed the PA Cloud Seeding Licensing Law to regulate weather modification experiments and create a Weather Modification Board within the Department of Agriculture. The law was inspired by unauthorized weather modification by the Blue Ridge Weather Modification Association in 1963 which used planes and ground generators to emit silver iodide into the air to suppress hail in Fulton and Franklin counties.

Recent developments and new technology have brought forward the need to modernize the 1967 law.
According to the U.S Patent and Trade Office, over 100 new weather modification patents now exist that are owned by combination of Federal Government Agencies, Non-Governmental Organizations, and large multinational corporations.

Since 2000, the U.S Bureau of Reclamation has received an increase in funding from Congress with the primary goal of “improving and evaluating physical mechanisms to limit damage from weather phenomena such as drought and hail, and to enhance water supplies through regional weather modification research programs and transfer validated technologies for implementation within operational programs.” In recent years, the Bureau has dispersed millions in grant funding in several different regions of the US in support of cloud seeding operations that include the spraying of silver iodide. This seeding of clouds is being currently used in at least 8 western states for increased rain and snow pack purposes.

Silver iodide, the chemical most used to seed clouds is known to be toxic and is regulated under the Clean Water Act as a hazardous substance. Additionally, a peer reviewed study published in the Journal of Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety concluded that silver iodine from cloud seeding heightens toxicity levels for ecosystems if cloud seeding is repeatedly applied in a specific area and large amounts of seeding materials accumulate in the environment.

In addition to cloud seeding, the Federal Government has ramped up efforts to fund and research “solar geoengineering” which involves the use of planes or balloons to disperse particles in the stratosphere to reflect enough sunlight to reduce global temperatures. The 2022 Federal Appropriations act directed the Office of Science and Technology Policy to develop a cross-agency group to coordinate research on geoengineering, in partnership with NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Department of Energy. 

The Wall Street Journal recently confirmed active field experiments in Solar Radiation Mitigation being conducted by a private start-up in Israel called Stardust Solutions, and in Marine Cloud Brightening being conducted by Southern Cross University in Australia.

Spraying unknown, experimental, and potentially dangerous chemicals into the atmosphere without the consent of the people of Pennsylvania is a clear violation of Article 1, Section 27 of the PA Constitution.

My legislation will amend the Cloud Seeding Licensure law to ban the injection, release, or dispersion of chemicals, chemical compounds, or substances within the borders of Pennsylvania into the atmosphere for purposes of affecting temperature, weather, or intensity of sunlight.

This bill will mirror legislation that recently passed in the Tennessee Senate by a vote of 25-6.

Please join me as a sponsor.