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 HARRISBURG, Pa., June 17 /PRNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Senate

today unanimously passed legislation designed to give Pennsylvania the authority it needs to implement the federal Clean Air Act, according to state Sen. David J. Brightbill (R-Lebanon), chairman of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.
 "The bill passed by the Senate today represents a balancing of environmental and economic interests that will enable Pennsylvania to meet its obligations under the federal Clean Air Act," said Brightbill. "The bill is the result of months of bipartisan discussions between the Senate, House, the administration, environmental and business groups to come to agreement on this complex issue."
 "The federal law calls on industry, electric rate-payers and car owners to make major sacrifices to implement the Clean Air Act," explained Brightbill. "These sacrifices will help insure that our children and their children will live in a more healthful environment."
 The federal act will increase electric rates for millions of Pennsylvanians to control acid rain, require many employees to carpool and use mass transit and require companies to convert vehicle fleets to use cleaner-burning alternate fuels, increase the cost of gasoline and set tougher air emission standards for new cars making them more expensive. The federal law will even change the way perfume is made.
 "The federal law and our Senate bill will also level the playing field between states so that industries in one state are not put at a competitive disadvantage because of differences between state environmental programs," said Brightbill.
 "The Senate bill, which enjoyed wide bipartisan support today, is a tough, but fair approach to implementing the sweeping programs in the federal Clean Air Act," said Brightbill.
 The following is a summary of the major provisions of Senate Bill 1650, the Clean Air Act bill passed by the Senate today:
 -- Fully authorizes DER to implement the provisions of the federal Clean Air Act, but does not allow those measures to be more stringent unless they are needed to meet federal air standards. The bill "grandfathers" any existing state standards that are more stringent.
 -- For the first time requires public review of plans which commit the state to specific measures to control air pollution.
 -- Requires that an economic impact analysis on small businesses accompany regulations needed to implement the Clean Air Act.
 -- Authorizes DER to impose fees on emissions of air contaminants that are still allowed under the Clean Air Act. Interim fees would be set at $14 per ton on emissions of four different pollutants -- sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, particulate matter and volatile organic compounds. A permanent emission fee would be put in place by regulation starting in 1995. Fees on sources in Allegheny and Philadelphia counties would go directly to support local air pollution control programs, since DER does not administer the air programs in these counties.
 -- Establishes tougher enforcement provisions including higher fines, compliance checks for past air pollution violations before new permits are issued and suits by citizens to enforce the act which have all been standard features of recent Pennsylvania environmental laws.
 -- Designates DER's existing Citizens Advisory Council to give general advice to the department in setting up Clean Air Act programs. Designates a special Clean Air Technical Advisory Committee to give DER advice on more technical matters.
 -- Creates an expanded program to help small businesses comply with the new clean air rules, including a small business ombudsman, supported by emission fees.
 -- Authorizes the state to designate local transportation management associations to help employers comply with employee trip reduction requirements, the need to convert vehicle fleets to cleaner-burning alternate fuels and other provisions of the federal act.
 -- Specifically authorizes DER to file suit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to force action where EPA has not finalized regulations or guidance the state needs to meet a Clean Air Act deadline.
 -- Urges the Northeast Ozone Transport Commission to adopt resolutions and set policy after an opportunity for public review and comment.
 The Senate has already passed several other bills dealing with Clean Air Act issues, including --
 -- Senate Bill 1331, sponsored by Sen. Bell (R-Delaware), which establishes procedures for the Public Utility Commission to follow to consider acid rain control compliance plans required by the Clean Air Act. This bill was signed into law as Act 27 on April 16.
 -- Senate Bill 1470, sponsored by Sen. Corman (R-Centre), which establishes a grant program to help employers and others convert their vehicles to use clean-burning alternate fuels. The Senate passed this bill on May 12 and it is awaiting action in the House Conservation Committee.
 The prime sponsor of Senate Bill 1650 is Sen. Raphael J. Musto (D-Luzerne), minority chairman of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee. Brightbill is a co-sponsor of the bill and majority chairman of the committee.
 -0- 6/17/92
 /CONTACT: David Hess of state Sen. David J. Brightbill's office, 717-787-5708/ CO: Pennsylvania Senate ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU: LEG

CC-MK -- PH023 -- 1143 06/17/92 14:22 EDT
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Date:Jun 17, 1992

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