Critics say Pa. fiscal measure would impede emission-reduction plan

    Environmentalist groups are protesting provisions advancing through the Pennsylvania Legislature as part of budget-related bill.

    More than a half-dozen organizations signed onto a Thursday statement as senators overwhelmingly approved the 76-page bill Thursday, barely 24 hours after it became public.

    One provision involves the federally required state plan for reducing carbon emissions from power plants that the Department of Environmental Protection hopes to finish by the September 2016 deadline.

    It would extend the legislative review period from 100 days to 180 days, which critics say will cut into time the DEP needs to hold hearings and write a thorough report.

    Mark Szybist of the Natural Resources Defense Council says lawmakers shouldn’t put environmental changes in an appropriations bill.

    Senate Republican spokeswoman Jennifer Kocher calls the provision a technical clarification.

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