Public Hearing On Senate Bill 275
On May 11, the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy and Local Government Committees held a joint hearing on Senate Bill 275 (Yaw-Lycoming) which would establish state government as the authority empowered with energy regulation, preempting local government regulatory actions.
Associations representing local governments expressed concerns with some provisions of the legislation that, in their view, could go beyond the stated intent of the bill. These groups asked for amendments to clarify that the traditional primacy of local government over land use would continue.
Representatives of larger municipalities and environmental groups were stronger in their opposition to the legislation, arguing that all levels of government should be enabled to be involved in mitigating climate change, for example.
Democrats on the Committees expressed their opposition to the bill. One common theme of the questioning by Democratic Senators was whether– currently– any local government in the state was in the process of establishing a local energy regulation plan.
The response of all testifiers was that they were not. That prompted those Senators to call the bill “a solution looking for a problem”and therefore, in their view, the bill was not needed.
The group representing the public utilities and groups of energy consultants spoke strongly in favor of this bill, citing examples of municipalities in other states that had adopted such regulation.
PPA registered its strong support of Senate Bill 275 in its written testimony submitted to the Committees.
Indications from key Senators after the hearing were that there would be discussions held with the local government associations to address some of their concerns, but that the intent of the Majority was to proceed with the passage of the bill pursuant to its original intent.
Click Here for copies of all written testimony and to watch a video of the hearing.