Senate Passes Blake’s Economic Development, Clean Energy Initiative

Senate Passes Blake’s Economic Development, Clean Energy Initiative

HARRISBURG, January 30, 2018 – The state Senate today overwhelmingly approved legislation sponsored by state Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) that would generate significant economic development, create jobs and enhance Pennsylvania’s clean energy portfolio.

Senate Bill 234, which now moves to the House of Representatives after passing the Senate by a 42-8 vote, would establish Pennsylvania’s Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program which is a financing mechanism that enables low-cost, long-term funding for energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation upgrades to commercial, agricultural or industrial properties.

 

“PACE gives local governments across Pennsylvania a powerful tool to support the commercial, industrial and agricultural community as business interests invest in energy efficiency, solar power and water conservation projects.  PACE advances the use of cutting edge technologies while creating jobs,” Blake said.  “PACE, which is supported by private lending, does not impose upon Pennsylvania taxpayers and, in fact, will result in more economic activity that will drive increased revenues into the Commonwealth’s General Fund.”

Blake worked closely with state Sen. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Allegheny/Washington) and a diverse group of stakeholders from the business, labor and environmental communities on the bipartisan legislation over the past year.

Under Senate Bill 234, a local government would be able to choose to participate in or develop a PACE financing program. PACE financing would not require any public funds; participating local communities would be tasked with collecting the assessment on the improved building and remit it for payment on the debt incurred from the building’s energy-efficiency and clean energy technology upgrades.

The legislation was introduced by Senator Blake in the prior legislative session as Senate Bill 1069 but it did not move from the Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee.

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Sens. Blake, Reschenthaler Unveil Economic Development, Clean Energy Initiative

HARRISBURG, January 31, 2017 – State Sens. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) and Guy Reschenthaler (R-Allegheny/Washington) today joined a diverse group of stakeholders from the business, labor and environmental communities to unveil their bipartisan legislation that would generate significant economic development, create jobs and enhance Pennsylvania’s clean energy portfolio.

Senate Bill 234 would establish Pennsylvania’s Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program which is a financing mechanism that enables low-cost, long-term funding for energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation upgrades to commercial or industrial properties.

“The Property Assessed Clean Energy program is a proven-successful economic development tool that enhances property values and employment opportunities; lowers the cost of doing business; and expands the use of energy saving technologies,” Senator Blake said. “Our legislation would give Pennsylvania businesses an opportunity to make costly energy-saving upgrades with a creative, market-driven funding mechanism that does not spend a dime of taxpayer money.”

 

Under Senate Bill 234, PACE financing – which can be used to purchase new heating and cooling systems, lighting improvements, solar panels, water pumps and insulation – would be repaid in the form of a voluntary property tax assessment on the specific, improved building.

“PACE is a commonsense, voluntary program, that doesn’t cost taxpayers a penny. PACE increases the use of energy-saving and environmentally-conscious technology, saves businesses money, and will create family-sustaining jobs throughout the commonwealth because of sales and installations,” Senator Reschenthaler added. “I look forward to working with my colleagues and the dozens of organizations that support the proposed PACE legislation.”

A local government would be able to choose to participate in or develop a PACE financing program. PACE financing would not require any public funds; participating local communities would be tasked with collecting the assessment on the improved building and remit it for payment on the debt incurred from the building’s energy-efficiency and clean energy technology upgrades.

“Commercial PACE programs advance energy conservation and clean energy projects that reduce pollution and promote clean air. Support for the programs is broad and bipartisan, for good reason,” David Masur, PennEnvironment Executive Director, said. “Through Senate Bill 234, Pennsylvania can join the growing ranks of states where successful Commercial PACE programs are helping to protect the environment and build healthier communities.”

Currently, 33 states plus the District of Columbia authorize PACE financing for clean energy and energy efficiency projects. Some of the states utilizing the PACE program include Alabama, California, Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Texas.

 “Commercial PACE is expanding across the country because it makes good business sense. Enabling commercial properties to invest in energy efficiency and clean energy will produce long-term energy savings and create local jobs,” Matt Elliot, Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance executive director, said. “We applaud Senator Blake and Senator Reschenthaler for their legislation to help Pennsylvania communities leverage the potential of commercial PACE.”

The legislation was introduced by Senator Blake in the prior legislative session as Senate Bill 1069 but it did not move from the Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee. Blake and Reschenthaler, both members of the Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee in the current legislative session, are confident that the bill will receive full Senate consideration in the current session.

“We applaud the efforts of Senator Blake and Senator Reschenthaler to reduce energy use in Pennsylvania’s commercial and industrial buildings,” Dewitt Walton, Special Assistant to the International President of the United Steelworkers, added. “PACE will create good jobs with family supporting wages and benefits, provide a boost for areas of the state that have faced economic challenges and help workers seeking careers in new and emerging industries.”

For more information on the PACE initiative nationally, visit www.pacenation.us

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Blake Applauds Senate Vote Banning Dangerous Bath Salts

HARRISBURG, June 15, 2011 — State Sen. John P. Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) today applauded a Senate concurrence vote on House amendments to Senate Bill 1006, banning the production, use, sale and possession of dangerous bath salts and synthetic marijuana in Pennsylvania.

“I commend my colleagues in both chambers of the legislature for their swift action to ban these substances, which have become an enormous threat to public safety,” Blake said. “This issue was of particular concern to my Senate district. The preventative actions taken by the mayor and by law enforcement officials in the City of Scranton in April evidenced an urgency for action by the General Assembly.”

Blake commended Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty and Lackawanna County District Attorney Andy Jarbola for advancing a ban on these dangerous substances within Scranton city limits earlier this year.

Concentrated bath salts contain a chemical known as MDPV, which can mimic the effects of cocaine and methamphetamine.

Senate Bill 1006 also bans salvia divinorum, a psychoactive drug that can produce hallucinations, and it also prohibits the sale of synthetic marijuana.

The ban contained in Senate Bill 1006 now goes to Gov. Tom Corbett for enactment.

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