Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Groups Launch Effort Asking Legislators And Candidates For State Legislature To Sign Pennsylvania Climate Pledge

On October 21, Clean Air Action Fund,
Clean Air Moms Action, and Environmental Defense Fund Action announced the Pennsylvania Climate Pledge, a nonpartisan campaign to secure support for key climate change policies from current members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly and candidates currently running to serve in the state legislature.

Legislators and candidates who sign the pledge agree to support the state’s goals for cutting climate pollution, comprehensive methane regulations, and Pennsylvania’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).         

The text of the Climate Pledge: I pledge to protect the residents of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by addressing climate change and supporting strong limits on climate pollution, strong and comprehensive methane regulations, and Pennsylvania’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

These issues poll highly among Pennsylvania voters. In a September 2020 poll by Yale University and Climate Nexus, 72 percent of Pennsylvania voters supported updating and strengthening regulations to cut methane emissions, with a similar number of voters supporting linking to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

“Today, we’re launching the Pennsylvania Climate Pledge and calling on current and soon-to-be elected officials to protect the future of the Commonwealth,” said Joseph Otis Minott, Esq., President of the Clean Air Action Fund. “Constituents need to know that their leaders are committed to fighting climate change and protecting our health at a time when public health matters more than ever.”

The campaign will conduct grassroots email and phone communications, attend candidate events, and run earned and paid digital media efforts.

 Legislators and candidates can sign the pledge online. The campaign will periodically update signers on the website and run through the start of the 2021 legislative session.

As the second-largest natural gas producer and the third largest greenhouse gas polluter in the nation, Pennsylvania could have a major role in efforts to reduce climate-harming emissions.

“To protect our children's future, our elected officials must prioritize climate action -- starting right here in the Commonwealth,” said Felice Stadler, Director of Clean Air Moms Action. “Legislators and candidates who take this pledge will show voters that they are committed to doing everything they can to reduce climate pollution. Our leaders must take action now to secure a healthy and safe planet for our children and future generations.”

Each year, oil and gas development in Pennsylvania releases more than 1.1 million tons of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that is responsible for 25 percent of the climate change that is occurring today. That is more than double the amount of climate pollution released by all the vehicles in the state combined.

“One thing is clear: we need leadership in the state legislature to both defend and advance critical climate policy,” said Dan Grossman of EDF Action. “Oil and gas operations are responsible for 1.1 million tons of methane pollution each year, putting Pennsylvania families, health, and climate at risk.”

The three organizations are calling on legislators and candidates to work with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to ensure the adoption of comprehensive rules to cut methane and air pollution across the oil and gas supply chain, including from both producing and low-producing wells. 

Comprehensive methane rules will protect the health of Pennsylvanians and safeguard our climate.

Pennsylvania’s power sector is currently the fifth dirtiest in the nation, but the Department of Environmental Protection projects that linking to RGGI would result in 188 million tons of carbon dioxide reduced by 2030 and roughly $300 million in proceeds in the first year alone to invest back into Pennsylvania communities.

Participating in RGGI will help Pennsylvania achieve significant emissions reductions and catalyze economic development through investments in infrastructure, renewable energy, and energy efficiency that can prove especially meaningful to low-income communities where consumers could save money on electric bills.

Visit DEP’s Methane Reduction and Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative webpages for more on these proposals.

[Posted: October 21, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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