Senators Steve Santarsiero and Maria Collett issued a joint memorandum inviting fellow senators to join them in support of a packet of legislation that provides Pennsylvania’s Office of Attorney General (OAG) with concurrent jurisdiction in matters involving environmental crimes.
The legislative packet the senators are introducing will provide the OAG with concurrent jurisdiction in environmental criminal cases under Pennsylvania’s Solid Waste Management Act, Clean Streams Law, and Safe Drinking Water Act.
Currently, the OAG cannot take action in such cases unless it first receives a referral from the local district attorney, the Department of Environmental Protection, or another agency with jurisdiction.
“The legislation Senator Collett and I are co-sponsoring will provide the Commonwealth’s top law enforcement officer with a greater ability to pursue bad actors who violate our constitutional right to clean air, pure water and the preservation of our natural resources,” Sen. Santarsiero said. “As a former Chief Deputy Attorney General for Environmental Protection in Pennsylvania, I have firsthand experience in how cumbersome, time-consuming, and counter-productive the current process can be. It’s time to untie the hands of our state prosecutors so that they can bring those who commit such crimes to justice.”
“This legislation is particularly urgent because it would give the Attorney General the power to take action against the polluters who created the PFAS contamination crisis in my district and across the Commonwealth,” said Sen. Collett, who has introduced legislation to set an interim maximum contaminant level for PFAS chemicals and have them classified as hazardous under the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act (HSCA). “As legislators, one of our jobs is to make sure our government has the tools it needs to keep our communities safe and go after those who endanger them.”
A link to the memorandum can be found here.