I received an email from PennEnvironment yesterday. The bill they are talking about has moved from the State House to the State Senate.  Among other things, it will restrict the ability of local governments to protect open space. Please review this and consider signing the letter at the PennEnvironment link provided.

I apologize for just posting without analysis – I’m at work and have very limited time. I thought it was worthwhile getting the info out though.

You can read the actual bill on the PA General Assembly site.


The email from PennEnvironment:

Hi MH,

There’s still time to ask your state representative to oppose a horrible anti-environmental bill from passing the state House of Representatives.  Over 700 PennEnvironment supporters have already made a difference – before voting the bill out of committee last week, it was amended to remove some anti-environmental provisions.

But there’s still more to do.  Please take a moment to take write your legislator today.

To take action, click on the link below or paste it into your web browser:

http://www.pennenvironment.org/PE.asp?id=273&id4=ES

BACKGROUND

For years, lobbyists for the largest agribusiness interests in Pennsylvania have been attempting to convince our politicians in Harrisburg to give a carte blanche to their factory farms, industrial livestock operations and other intensive agricultural practices when it comes to environmental protections.  In past years, the environmental community has been able to team up with local government officials in stopping these efforts, and in the most recent battle Governor Rendell had to veto similar anti-environmental legislation.

Now they are up to their old tricks again. A handful of legislators have introduced House Bill 1646, deceptively named the “ACRE” proposal (“Plan for the Protection of Agriculture, Communities, and the Rural Environment”).

This proposal is being masqueraded as a way to help local farmers by allowing agricultural interests to challenge any existing or future local ordinances that “limit” agricultural practices.  

While we all support Pennsylvania’s family farms, this proposal was implemented solely to benefit the largest and most polluting agribusiness practices and to stop local townships that have attempted to implement commonsense regulations for these industrial-style livestock operations.  But the effects of House Bill 1646 could be disastrous.

Imagine the possible consequences:  local planning regulations meant to protect community members who are most susceptible to air pollution could be overturned-townships would be unable to keep these industrial livestock operations from moving in next door to retirement homes or nearby schools, threatening senior citizens and children.  Local land use policies meant to protect the community’s waterways or watershed could be ruled unlawful and overturned if they “limited” a factory farm operation from setting up shop near the stream or in a flood plain.  Municipal zoning laws meant to promote “smart” growth and control overdevelopment could be overturned.  The potential scenarios are limitless.

So take a minute to email your state representative and ask them to oppose ACRE (HB1646) and do everything in their power to stop this proposal dead in its tracks.  

http://www.pennenvironment.org/PE.asp?id=273&id4=ES

After you have done that, please forward this email to your friends and family members and ask them to do the same.

Sincerely,

David Masur

PennEnvironment Director

DavidM@pennenvironment.org

http://www.PennEnvironment.org

P.S.  Thanks again for your support.  Please feel free to share this e-mail with your family and friends.

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Please forward this information to anyone you know who is concerned about the environment in PA, or the takeover of small farms by large agribusiness.

Thanks for your time and effort!!

(cross-posted at Democratic Underground, Pennsylvania Group, and at DailyKos.)

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