Pennsylvania Republicans named their chairmen for various state House committees last week, including four Butler County state representatives.
State Rep. Mike Turzai, R-28th, was reelected as speaker of the House on Jan. 1. Turzai’s list of majority committee chairmen for the coming legislative session includes four Butler County representatives: Brian Ellis, R-11th; Daryl Metcalfe, R-12th; Jim Marshall, R-14th; and Jeff Pyle, R-60th.
Metcalfe will now lead the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee. He represents much of southern Butler County, including Cranberry Township.
Metcalfe did not return a call for comment.
His appointment was met with criticism from some environmental groups in Pennsylvania. The clean energy advocacy group PennFuture released a statement from Jacquelyn Bonomo, its president and CEO.
“Rep. Metcalfe has no track record of bipartisanship and interest in good government, but instead has shown himself capable of being a roadblock to the forward movement of environmental issues,” Bonomo said.
Pyle is taking over the chairmanship of the Liquor Control Committee. Committee members have not yet been assigned, but Pyle said he expects to have a seat on Metcalfe’s committee.
“We’re going to be active,” Pyle said. “Daryl doesn’t mind being active, so I think we’ll do well.”
Pyle accused Gov. Tom Wolf of only pursuing environmental issues as a means to increase tax revenues from fracking.
“Don’t come at me with that environmental stuff when it all comes down to money,” Pyle said.
As for his own appointment, Pyle said he was excited and hopeful to improve business for small-scale alcohol operations.
He said the committee wants to look at opening up sales of products from small wineries, even backyard operations. He mentioned allowing stores to stock such local drinks if they’re within a certain mile range, but said they’re still on day-one of such plans.