HARRISBURG – 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) and approved unanimously today 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 Senator 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.