PA Chamber Leads Coalition Urging EPA to Withdraw Controversial Water Rule

HARRISBURG – A coalition of 24 state chambers, led by the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, has submitted a comment letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), calling for the withdrawal of a controversial water quality rule which the agency recently proposed.

In its letter, addressed to EPA Assistant Administrator Radhika Fox, the multi-state coalition raises significant concerns about the proposed rule, specifically questioning the data and methodology used in the agency’s decision to classify four additional chemical compounds as contaminants under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).

While the coalition expressed support for the establishment of a comprehensive national drinking water standard for certain chemicals, its comment letter highlights several problems with the EPA’s current proposal – asserting that the costs associated with the proposed rule are substantial and likely underestimated.

The coalition cites the potential costs of implementing the proposed maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for two compounds, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), estimating an annualized cost of approximately $1.8 billion. This figure represents more than double the EPA’s own estimated costs provided in the agency’s economic analysis.

Consequently, the coalition warned that the implementation of this proposed rule could lead to sharp increases in household water costs (up to $1,000 per month) in communities nationwide.

The coalition letter outlines the following key concerns:

  • Insufficient data on occurrence levels at the proposed maximum contaminant level.
  • The introduction of a novel hazard index approach for certain chemicals, raising technical, scientific, and legal questions.
  • Limited understanding of the risks associated with the proposed MCL.
  • The necessity of considering costs and benefits as required by the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Moreover, the coalition indicates that the proposed rule fails to consider the costs of Superfund cleanups, given the pending CERCLA hazardous substance designation for PFOA and PFOS.

As a result, the letter requests the EPA withdraw its proposal and await the outcomes of the ongoing Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR) 5 process before proceeding with a regulatory determination. In its conclusion, the coalition letter stresses that these outsized costs are avoidable and urges the EPA to adopt a more reasonable and defensible approach.

The letter is available here and was signed by the following state chambers:

  • Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • Greater North Dakota Chamber
  • Idaho Association of Commerce & Industry
  • Illinois Chamber of Commerce
  • Indiana Chamber of Commerce
  • Iowa Association of Business and Industry
  • Kansas Chamber of Commerce
  • Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
  • Maine State Chamber of Commerce
  • Maryland Chamber of Commerce
  • Michigan Chamber of Commerce
  • Minnesota Chamber of Commerce
  • Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry
  • New Jersey Business & Industry Association
  • New Mexico Chamber of Commerce
  • North Carolina Chamber
  • Ohio Chamber of Commerce
  • Oregon Business & Industry
  • Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry
  • South Carolina Chamber of Commerce
  • Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry
  • Virginia Chamber of Commerce
  • Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce

PA Chamber Testifies on Workforce Challenges in Rural Communities


HARRISBURG – This week, PA Chamber Director of Government Affairs Kevin Sunday testified on the ongoing workforce challenges that employers face in the Commonwealth’s rural communities during a public hearing at Penn College hosted by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania.

The hearing brought together leaders from Pennsylvania’s energy and healthcare sectors as well as educators, agency officials, and nonprofit associations. Participants included PA Chamber members UPMC, Coterra Energy, Penn College, Penn State, Shippensburg University, and the University of Pittsburgh. Senator Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming) – who also serves as the Center for Rural Pennsylvania’s board chairman – chaired the hearing.

During his testimony, Sunday emphasized the importance of improving Pennsylvania’s economic competitiveness through favorable tax and regulatory policies. “Our goal at the PA Chamber is to make Pennsylvania the most economically competitive state in the nation. This requires a tax and regulatory environment that encourages investment into the state,” Sunday said.

He also highlighted the need for modernized infrastructure to support economic growth throughout Pennsylvania. “We need modernized infrastructure across the state – from a safe and efficient system of roads and bridges to world-class airports and ports, to reliable gas, electric, and water infrastructure, and, just as important, access to high-speed broadband.”

Sunday also discussed recent legislative achievements, including the Senate’s advancement of comprehensive permitting and licensing reform legislation (SB 350) and tax reform measures (SB 345 and 346) that accelerate reduction of the state’s corporate net income tax and enhance businesses’ ability to carry forward net operating losses into future years.

The PA Chamber also supports efforts to improve the state’s workforce by addressing key barriers such as affordable childcare, occupational licensing requirements, and re-entry into the workforce after incarceration. In his testimony, Sunday reiterated the Chamber’s support for expanding Pennsylvania’s Clean Slate law and efforts to improve childcare for working families.

With Pennsylvania’s population decline being another major concern in the hearing, Sunday’s written testimony cited IRS data demonstrating that residents are leaving Pennsylvania for states with better economic climates. Sunday recommended targeted regional marketing efforts and greater collaboration with local chambers of commerce and economic development groups as a solution to help attract more residents to the Commonwealth.

Sunday urged policymakers to focus on creating an environment that attracts investment and promotes population growth. “We encourage the Center to take a close look at regional economic needs and population migration trends. Reforms to the state’s tax and regulatory structure help everywhere, but it is certainly the case that each region of the state has its own key industries.”

Sunday concluded his testimony by restating the PA Chamber’s commitment to working with stakeholders including the governor’s office, state legislature, and local communities to help move Pennsylvania forward.

Sunday’s full written testimony is available here. To watch his remarks, click here.

2023 Election Recap

Last Tuesday was Primary Election Day in Pennsylvania, and millions of voters cast their ballots to help shape the future direction of our Commonwealth. Here is a summary of the major contests in this year’s election.


 Pennsylvania Supreme Court

ChamberPAC-endorsed candidate Judge Carolyn Carluccio (R-Montgomery) prevailed with 53.55 percent of the Republican Primary vote for Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Judge Daniel McCaffery (D-Philadelphia) defeated Judge Deb Kunselman (D-Beaver) in the Democrat Primary.

Judge Carluccio and Judge McCaffery will face off in the contest for Supreme Court in the Nov. 7 General Election. The winner will fill a vacancy on the court, where Democrats currently hold a 4-2 majority. Read more about the race here.


Pennsylvania Superior Court

Jill Beck (D-Allegheny) and Judge Timika Lane (D-Philadelphia) were the top two vote-getters in a three-way Democrat Primary for Pennsylvania Superior Court. They will face Judge Maria Battista (R-Clarion) and Judge Harry Smail (R-Westmoreland) in November in a four-way contest in which the top two vote getters will fill two open seats on the Superior Court.


Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court

Judge Matt Wolf (D-Philadelphia) bested Bryan Neft (D-Allegheny) in the Democrat Primary, while Megan Martin (R-Cumberland) prevailed in the Republican Primary with 63 percent of the vote against Joshua Prince (R-Berks). Judge Matt Wolf and Megan Martin will compete in the General Election for one open seat on the Commonwealth Court.


Pennsylvania House Special Elections

ChamberPAC-endorsed candidate Michael Stender (R-Northumberland) will represent House District 108 in the state House covering part of Northumberland and all of Montour counties, having won the Special Election to replace current state Sen. Lynda Schlegel Culver. Stender received 64.54 percent of the vote. Read more about the race here.

Heather Boyd (D-Delaware) defeated ChamberPAC-endorsed candidate Katie Ford (R-Delaware) in the Special Election to represent House District 163, the seat vacated by former Rep. Mike Zabel (D-Delaware). Boyd won with 60.1 percent of the vote. Read more about the race here.


Philadelphia Mayor

Cherelle Parker won the Democratic nomination for Philadelphia Mayor in a nine-way contest, one of the most competitive and historic races in Philadelphia history. She will face Republican David Oh in November. Read more about the race here.


Cherelle Parker (D) | 28.7%          Winner
Rebecca Rhynhart (D) | 19.7%
Helen Gym (D) | 18.6%
Allan Domb (D) | 10.2%
Jeff Brown (D)  | 7.8%
Amen Brown (D) | 1.2%
James Deleon (D) | 0.5%
Deliscia Gray (D) | 0.2%
Warren Bloom (D) | 0.2%


Allegheny County Executive

State Rep. Sara Innamorato was the winner of a six-way contest for the Democratic nomination for Allegheny County Executive with almost 38 percent of the vote, with her closest opponent garnering nearly 30 percent of the vote. She will face Republican and former PNC executive Joe Rockey in November. Read more about the race here.


 Sara Innamorato (D) | 37.6%          Winner
John Weinstein (D) | 29.6%
Michael Lamb (D) | 19.9%
Dave Fawcett (D) 9.7%
Theresa Colaizzi (D) | 2.1%
William Parker (D) | 1.1%


Full election results can be viewed at

PA Chamber Statement on Senate Passage of S.B. 350

HARRISBURG – Today, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Luke Bernstein released the following statement after the Pennsylvania Senate voted to pass S.B. 350, legislation that would enact meaningful and necessary reforms to the state’s permitting system:

“We have a generational opportunity within our grasp to advance a significant permitting reform bill that would lead to more jobs, greater transparency, and ultimately, a stronger economy. Senate Bill 350 takes a giant step forward propelling our state to become more competitive.  By building on the governor’s efforts to improve permitting, this measure further helps to modernize, streamline, and add much needed transparency to the permitting process. The PA Chamber is proud to support Senate Bill 350 and be part of the solution that will help Pennsylvania become more competitive. From crafting this bill to ushering it through committee and ultimately the entire Senate, I want to thank Senators Kristin Phillips-Hill and Greg Rothman for their leadership and tireless dedication on this issue.”

Earlier this week, the PA Chamber led a coalition of 68 leading industry associations and chambers of commerce in urging the governor and legislature to enact meaningful permitting reform this session. Moreover, Senate Bill 350’s provisions are consistent with the PA Chamber’s permitting reform plan, an approach endorsed by the Pennsylvania Building and Construction Trades Council in a joint op-ed written by the leaders of both organizations which was published in various outlets this spring.