Energy Independence Legislation Ready for Action

HARRISBURG – State Rep. Camille “Bud” George, majority chairman of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, said the four-bill Energy Independence Strategy is primed and ready to move Pennsylvania forward on energy issues.

“Pennsylvania’s Energy Independence Strategy is the antidote to sitting stunned at gas pumps and resigned to electric rate increases of more than 30 percent,” said Rep. George, D-74 of Houtzdale. “The legislation is not a quick fix but a responsible and overdue strategy to bring the Commonwealth out from under the thumbs of OPEC, oil companies, Mother Nature and deregulation’s many harms.”

The legislation — House Bills 1200, 1201, 1202 and 1203 — has been sent to committees for action. 

George said the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee will hold the first of several anticipated hearings on the legislation at 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 30, at the North York Borough Building, 350 E. Sixth Ave.

Wednesday’s hearing will focus on HB 1200, sponsored by Rep. Eugene DePasquale, D-95 of York, which would expand the Pennsylvania Economic Development Authority and encourage energy independence and local alternative energy production through tax credits, grants and loans, and other incentives.

“Energy and economic-development officials will outline strategies designed to save Pennsylvania $10 billion in energy costs over the next 10 years,” George said. “Expanding Pennsylvania’s energy and technology sectors would create more than 35,000 jobs and attract $3.5 billion in investments, and the process is starting now.”

Future hearings will detail:

? HB 1201, George’s legislation that would establish the Energy Independence Fund, an $850 million bond issue that would seed diverse energy and conservation initiatives.

? HB 1202, the Clean Fuels and Energy Independence Act, introduced by Rep. Mike Gerber, D-148 of Montgomery County, which would accelerate Pennsylvania’s growing bio-fuels industry.

? HB 1203, legislation offered by Rep. John Hornaman, D-3 of Erie County, which would increase the commonwealth’s clean-energy capabilities, emphasizing solar, hydro and wind power.

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