The Clean Power PA Coalition Monday submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency featuring strong statewide support of the agency’s proposed Clean Energy Incentive Program.
Over 100 elected officials and nearly 100 organizations, businesses, academics and health professionals from across Pennsylvania signed a letter urging EPA to finalize a CEIP that can bring clean energy investments to the Commonwealth’s low-income communities. The coalition also called on Gov. Wolf to ensure Pennsylvania opts into the program.
“It is exciting to see the number of elected officials, public health experts, clean energy businesses and environmental organizations across the state who all believe Pennsylvania can be a leader by investing in clean energy,” said David Masur, Executive Director of PennEnvironment, a grassroots environmental advocacy group that is a signatory to the letter. “A properly implemented Clean Energy Incentive Program will fight climate change while lowering utility bills, improving public health and stimulating Pennsylvania’s economy.”
Under the CEIP, states will be permitted to submit plans to expand renewable energy and energy efficiency projects as a way to meet a portion of their greenhouse gas reduction targets under the federal Clean Power Plan, which targets power plant emissions.
The signatories called on EPA to design a program that maximizes clean energy investments in both urban and rural low-income communities that would not otherwise occur.
Clean power and energy efficiency initiatives targeted for low-income communities will reduce energy bills, providing economic relief and expanding financial resources for other costs of living and discretionary spending.
Such initiatives also generate health benefits by reducing dangerous air pollution and reducing the risks of heart disease and asthma faced by families living in housing with poor heating and cooling systems.
“Carbon pollution emitted by power plants is fueling climate change and threatening public health and safety,” said Joseph Minott, Esq., Director of the Clean Air Council. “Low-income communities and those living closest to such sources of pollution are most vulnerable and bear the brunt of its negative impacts. The CEIP will bring clean energy to the communities who need it most and who deserve environmental justice.”
“Implementing EPA's Clean Energy Incentive Program will greatly enhance the growth of solar jobs and expand the solar capacity in Pennsylvania, with needed focus on the low-income market place - and the solar industry is eager to get started," said Ron Celentano, President of the PA Solar Energy Industries Association.
Support for a strong CEIP was expressed by a bipartisan group of elected officials who realize that expanding renewable energy and efficiency will stimulate our economy and build healthier communities.
From township commissioners to state representatives and congressmen, Pennsylvania’s elected officials endorsed the potential of the CEIP to help advance a clean energy future for the Commonwealth.
“Pennsylvania’s elected representatives have a responsibility to advocate for programs that can provide economic opportunity and better health for our constituents,” said Blondell Reynolds Brown, Councilwoman At-Large for the City of Philadelphia. “I am proud to join my colleagues on Philadelphia City Council in the unanimous support of the Clean Energy Incentive Program for the benefit of our communities.”
The letters supporting the CEIP were submitted to EPA as part of the agency’s public comment period collecting feedback about program design elements. The comment period is open through November 1, 2016.
A copy of the letter is available online.
The Clean Power PA Coalition includes: the Natural Resources Defense Council, PennFuture, Clean Air Council, Moms Clean Air Force, PennEnvironment, NextGen Climate America, Conservation Voters of PA, Clean Water Action, Voces Verdes, Sierra Club, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Audubon Pennsylvania, Physicians for Social Responsibility- Philadelphia , Climate Parents, Partnership for Policy Integrity, Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light, Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association, Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, Sustainable Pittsburgh and Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2).For more on Pennsylvania’s climate initiatives, visit the DEP Climate Change webpage.
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