Senate approves Pileggi bill giving communities a share of fines

When a company is fined by the state
for violating Pennsylvania’s Clean Air Act, local municipalities would get a
share of that money for environmental projects under legislation introduced by
Senator Dominic Pileggi, R-9, of Chester, and approved unanimously by the Senate.

Under current law, all fines levied
under the Clean Air Act go to the state.

“That doesn’t make sense, because the
real impact of the violation that led to the fine is felt in the local
community,” said Pileggi. “My bill will dedicate 25 percent of most fines to
local projects designed to reduce air pollution, to improve parks and trails,
or to create open space.”

Under Senate Bill 151, one-quarter of
any fine above $50,000 would be available to the municipality in which the
violation occurred.

The legislation was developed in
response to several situations in the Ninth Senatorial District. In Marcus Hook
Borough, the site of an oil refinery, more than $7.4 million in fines have been
imposed since November 2000.

SB 151, which now moves to the House
for consideration, would also require the Department of Environmental
Protection to notify the municipality in which a violation occurs within five
business days.

To ensure the ongoing viability of the
Clean Air Fund, no local share will be paid if the revenue from fines and
penalties was less than $1.85 million in the previous fiscal year. In 2009 and
2010, the state fund averaged receipts of more than $4.5 million.

Additional information on state issues
is available on Senator Pileggi’s web site (SenatorPileggi.com), Facebook
(facebook.com/SenatorPileggi) and Twitter (twitter.com/SenatorPileggi).

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