Thursday, July 16, 2015

Pennsylvania and the Clean Power Plan

Some energy and environmental news that might have slipped by you:  The EPA’s Clean Power Plan requires states that have fossil fuel power plants to develop a plan to reduce carbon emissions by 2030 or the government will develop its own plan for that state.  The Pennsylvania state legislature passed a law, signed by Gov. Corbett last October, saying the legislature has a role in the process.  This law is being used as a model by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to slow down the EPA’s process in other states as well.  You can read more about the entire matter in a wonderfully concise article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by Michael Sanserino (“With GOP in Command, States Look to Tweak Clean Power Plan,” 12/30/2014)  There are several quotes by one of my favorite PA state representatives, Greg Vitali,who has made environmental concern a hallmark of his career in public service, on the plan and how it might or might not be affected by the state law.

The Natural Resource Defense Council has produced a colorful six page pamphlet titled “Pennsylvania’s Clean Energy Future” which spells out how reducing the state’s carbon emissions will impact our economy and health, and providing some policy options.  To meet federal requirements the state will have to reduce its carbon emissions by 32% below 2012 levels and prepare a plan to do so by June 2016.    A report by the Union of Concerned Scientists says that many states have already made significant progress towards this goal.  Pennsylvania is one of them. The White House prepared a special (short)report on what the goals mean for Pennsylvania and the Northeast (including a shoutout for Mayor Nutter   

Several environmental groups have formed Clean Power PA to present information on how the state can prepare a Clean Power Plan.  Their website,, has a number of resources for further study, and some very cool infographics.  The site's home page describes the organization and it's purpose:

The Clean Power PA Coalition is a group of clean energy, business, faith, and community leaders committed to protecting Pennsylvania’s environment and powering its economy through clean energy. The coalition is led by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC),PennFutureClean Air CouncilMoms’ Clean Air ForcePenn EnvironmentNextGen Climate AmericaConservation Voters of PAClean Water ActionVoces Verdes, the Sierra Club, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Audubon Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania has a long history as a leading energy producer in the United States. It’s one of the industries that fuels our economy and sustains our quality of life. But pollution and climate change threaten our health, our children’s health, and the natural beauty of our most treasured places. Now is the time to invest in a clean energy future for the Keystone State. 

Pennsylvania is poised to become a leader in renewable energy, creating thousands of sustainable jobs, reducing carbon pollution, and keeping our air and water clean in the process. PA Clean Energy Initiative, through its campaign Clean Power PA, advocates for the policies and investments that can bring our clean energy future to fruition.

This is something we will all be hearing about in the next year so we should start reading up now.

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