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Legislative scorecard finds waning support for environmental bills in 2015-16

Natural Gas Wells

Pennsylvania’s state lawmakers voted less often for pro-environment legislation and more often for bills that would weaken environmental protection in the 2015-16 legislative session than they did the previous year, according to a tally published by four environmental groups on Wednesday.

An annual legislative scorecard from PennEnvironment, the Sierra Club, Clean Water Action and Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania found that the environmental voting record of the House as a whole dropped to 35 percent from 48 percent in the 2013-14 session, while the Senate’s environmental record declined to 38 percent from 41 percent.

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Bills would permit commercial development in Pa. state parks

Salt Springs State Park

Pennsylvania's award-winning parks could be better if golf courses, hotels, inns, restaurants, amusement parks, water slides, and other outdoor sports facilities were available in them, according to two state representatives backing bills that would open the tent flap to such development.

Rep. Brian Ellis (R., Butler) wants to amend the 1995 Conservation and Natural Resources Act to allow development of those recreational and lodging amenities, along with the establishment of a new, politically appointed Public-Private State Park Partnership Board to propose and oversee development projects.

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Report: gas industry spent $8 million lobbying Pa. legislature in 2015

Harrisburg

The natural gas industry spent $8 million lobbying Pennsylvania politicians last year, according to a new analysis from the nonpartisan government reform group, Common Cause/PA, and the Conservation Voters of PA.

The project, called MarcellusMoney, is an ongoing effort to track the political influence of Pennsylvania’s gas drillers, who have spent $55.9 million on lobbying since 2007.

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