Thursday, May 10, 2018

Environmental Coalition Backs Common PA Conservation Agenda Aimed At Candidates For Governor

A coalition of environmental groups led by PennFuture is launching the Green in ’18 campaign, a grassroots movement that aims to spur the gubernatorial candidates to prioritize environmental issues, while simultaneously supporting the first-ever Pennsylvania Common Conservation Agenda, developed by a coalition of 25 unified environmental groups across the state.
The agenda is described this way--
“The Pennsylvania Constitution requires that our state government defend the right of the citizens “to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment.”
“Despite this mandate, Pennsylvania has the third worst air quality in the United States. In some of our cities, one in three children suffers from asthma. Pennsylvania ranks among the states with the highest risks for lead-contaminated water. Nineteen thousand miles of our streams and rivers are unsafe for drinking, recreation, aquatic life, agriculture, or industrial use.
“An impaired environment threatens our agriculture and tourism industries, while we miss opportunities to take advantage of the world’s transition to clean renewable energy.
“These solutions not only promote a cleaner environment and a healthier economy, they are publicly popular and can be enacted by our next governor using his or her executive authority.
“While a handful of these solutions involve additional state spending, in virtually every instance, the increase in spending will be offset through job growth, revenue growth, energy savings, and/or lower healthcare costs.
“We also include proposals for increasing public investments in the private sector and attracting more capital for Pennsylvania companies.
“There is one consistent theme throughout the Pennsylvania Common Conservation Agenda: a healthy environment is best for everyone in Pennsylvania – children, families, workers, retirees, businesses – now and in generations to come.
“We will bring this agenda to the people of Pennsylvania in order to spark productive conversations about the future of the environment in our state. We hope you will join that conversation.”
Among the recommendations are--
-- Issue strong rules limiting methane pollution from new and existing oil and gas sources.
-- Maintain a ban on new gas leasing in our state parks and forests.
-- Expand protections for Pennsylvania’s waters by proposing a legislative package to address lead in drinking water that includes the establishment of dedicated state funds for lead service line replacement.
-- Establish an interagency working group with a focus on environmental justice; this group should promote integrated solutions for vulnerable communities through collaboration across traditional boundaries.
--  Sign an executive order that requires high-performance green building standards for major construction or reconstruction projects involving buildings owned or significantly leased by the Commonwealth.
-- Invest in workforce training programs that provide displaced workers and new workforce entrants with skills in clean technology areas like energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean transportation.
-- Oppose any effort, and veto any budget, that diverts money from the Environmental Stewardship Fund or the Keystone Recreation, Park, and Conservation Fund.
“With a pivotal election for governor on the horizon, we worked with our many partners to offer an array of policy solutions to the environmental threats looming in Pennsylvania – solutions that can and should be enacted by the individual whom voters choose to lead the state,” said PennFuture President and CEO Jacquelyn Bonomo. “The actions called for in the Common Agenda can be implemented by the next governor using his or her executive authority and we look forward to educating the public about this blueprint through PennFuture’s new Green in ’18 Campaign.”
During the 2018 election cycle, coalition members will take the agenda to the gubernatorial candidates, urging each one to enact the recommended policy solutions if elected.
Leaders of the coalition recognized early on that it would take more than their efforts alone to get the candidates to consider and ultimately implement the agenda. It requires a groundswell of support from the people of Pennsylvania, which led to the creation of the Green in ’18 campaign.
“We will engage with the gubernatorial candidates on the campaign trail, ask them to explain their plans to safeguard the state’s environment, and make sure they’re well-informed about the common sense recommendations in the Common Agenda,” said Saleem Chapman, Campaign Manager of Green in ’18. “The Pennsylvania Constitution states that we, the people, have a right to clean air, pure water, and the preservation of the environment. The actions taken by the governor over the next four years will determine whether or not our citizens enjoy the benefits of that Constitutional right.”
The 25 member organizations of the coalition represent nearly one million Pennsylvanians from every corner of the state, every political party, and all walks of life.
“The Common Agenda represents the unprecedented coming together of environmental, conservation, recreation, clean energy, environmental justice, and civic engagement organizations from throughout Pennsylvania to help chart a brighter path, a more equitable and prosperous future, for the people of this state,” said Joanne Kilgour, Director of the Sierra Club’s Pennsylvania Chapter.
Click Here for a copy of the PA Common Conservation Agenda.
For more information on this initiative, visit the Green in ’18 campaign website.

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