Energy - June 17, 2011

 Budget, Unemployment Bills Move Through Legislature 

With the budget deadline drawing near, House Democrats held a press conference yesterday expressing their frustration with the process. They called for greater transparency throughout the budget process and for the use of what House Democratic Appropriations Chairman Joe Markosek said amounts to nearly $1 billion in additional state revenues.

Earlier in the week the Senate Appropriations Committee sent the budget bill - HB 1485 - to the Senate floor where it currently waits on the Senate calendar. Chances are that the bill will go back into the Appropriations committee as negotiations continue. During next week and the following week crucial negotiations will need to be made if Gov. Corbett plans to sign the bill before the June 30 deadline.

In other legislative news, yesterday the House approved an unemployment bill that would authorize 13 weeks of extended unemployment benefits, freeze the maximum weekly benefit payment starting next year and slow the rate of growth in those payments in subsequent years, setting the maximum weekly payment at $572.

The bill is now in the Senate and the Senate is expected to reconvene today to approve the bill and send it to the Governor's desk.


Solar Field Dedication at Longwood Gardens

Yesterday Longwood Gardens held a commissioning ceremony for their solar field in Kennett Square, PA. The 1.5 MW solar installation will produce enough electricity to offset the usage of about 138 PA homes and help Longwood Gardens reduce their carbon dioxide footprint. DEP Secretary Michael Krancer and Sen. Dominic Pileggi attended the ceremony. Please visit The Winter Group website Photo Gallery to see images of the solar panels.