Too bad the Federal Trade Commission is limited to ferreting out false advertising in print, television, radio, and the Internet. Just think of the impact if the FTC also regulated truth in legislation, which too often isn't what it appears to be.
For example, a bill that sounds as if it would allow Pennsylvania to craft state guidelines to meet new clean-air standards would likely do the opposite. Sadly, the state House passed the bad bill, so the state Senate must kill it.
The Greenhouse Gas Regulation Implementation Act is sponsored by State Rep. Pam Snyder (D., Fayette), who hails from coal country and understandably wants to protect jobs that might be lost if less coal is used to generate electricity. But burning coal not only pollutes the air and increases the risk of respiratory illness. It also releases large amounts of the carbon dioxide linked to global warming. Studies show Pennsylvania's coal-fired power plants release as much carbon pollution as the entire country of Chile.
To reduce carbon pollution, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is issuing new rules under the Clean Air Act, which the Supreme Court says it has the authority to do. But the EPA is allowing each state to write its own clean-power plan.
Snyder's original bill would have required prior approval by the legislature of any clean-energy plan submitted to the EPA by the state Department of Environmental Protection. An amended version calls for public hearings but doesn't require a legislative vote before the plan is filed with the EPA. Even so, the measure could gum up the works.
The coal lobby can be counted on to use hearings and any other available maneuver to fight a plan. If that keeps the DEP from meeting the EPA deadline, the federal agency will get to make the rules instead of Pennsylvania.
Snyder's bill ignores the fact that an air-quality panel created by the legislature already advises the DEP, and that the General Assembly also created and has four members on the Environmental Quality Board, which oversees DEP regulations.
The DEP doesn't need more micromanagement by politicians to develop a plan to replace coal with less costly alternatives, cut consumer rates, and produce green-energy jobs.