Blue Rocks Glacial Deposit, Berks Co. PA. Image credit:Bridge & Tunnel Club
This headline from Patriot News (PennLive.com) tells the tale succinctly: "Republican state lawmaker calls for party to 'lead on environmental issues'" A headline like that has the feel of a political gusher tipped open by the BP debacle .
It's reminiscent of when Republican President Richard Nixon, having seen strong national poll results (Earth Day #1 era), famously held his nose and signed what are now regarded as landmark pieces of environmental legislation. Money quotes indicative of the Pennsylvania developments - possibly signaling a national Republican turnabout - are presented below the fold.
"I've said for some time the Republicans in the Senate need to lead on environmental issues," Scarnati said. "It's the perfect time for Republicans to show they do care about the environment."
First, Rendell proposed a tax on natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale that would have allotted a meager 10 percent of the revenues to environmental programs, while the rest would have gone into the general fund.
Environmental advocates want a larger portion of the revenue to fund a third Growing Greener program, and Scarnati agreed, saying he couldn't support a gas tax that didn't send a big roll of that cash toward the environment.
Scarnati also said the state should "start fully funding the environmental cleanup fund that's been robbed over the years."