ENVIRONMENT: PROTECT AND TREASURE IT SO THAT WE PROTECT
WHAT'S GOING ON?
Pennsylvania is a beautiful state. We have award-winning parks, verdant forests, fields, streams, and farms, and industry who can be part of the solutions to problems instead of their source. We face serious environmental problems and Peter's background has brought him face to face with these challenges in energy, water, food, and our health.
Everyday people and experts know that the climate is changing and it's impacting our daily lives. By burning fossil fuels, transforming land, and through other practices, people have wrapped the earth in a thicker blanket of greenhouse gases that impact every sector of Pennsylvania's economy. We have to draw down carbon emissions.
Decades of research also show that Pennsylvania’s corporations have more rights than poor and minority communities. Unbound from meaningful regulation, corporate polluters and an insufficiently precautionary state have forced the weakest among us to suffer the most from environmental hazards. The legislature has created a system of rank inequality where rural white citizens and black and brown citizens in Pennsylvania's cities carry a burden that puts them at greater risk. They are too often threatened by elevated lead levels that cause neurological damage, diesel fumes and pollution causing asthma or chemical exposure that causes rare cancers.
This situation must change.
Scientists from Penn State, our youth and everyday people from all over the world agree: we need a new plan. It is time to create a clean new economy that works for everyone.
AN ENERGY POWERHOUSE
Pennsylvania is the nation’s fourth-biggest energy producer and the second-biggest electricity exporter. As the historic home of iron and steel, the home of coal, oil, and gas, we are truly an energy powerhouse. We are a state that is 60% forested and the home of legacy farms. It's time for us to lead on the solution and stop leading on the problem.
Today Pennsylvania can advance renewable energy, green building standards, and other efforts. Homegrown firms like Envinity (College Township) and SunDirected (Spring Township) are making high-efficiency and renewable energy solutions part of daily life for homeowners and for businesses across this region and the state.
Solar firms from all over the world and the state are building utility-scale projects that can provide clean energy, save farmland, provide local revenue and create habitat. Recent policy changes at the state level have made bigger solar projects more stable and profitable. The Governor’s Executive Order 2019-01 is moving the state government in the right direction. While these changes are good, they are insufficient.
STEPS TO CHANGE
Peter will advance legislation that would surpass Gov. Wolf's 80% carbon emission reduction by 2050 and eventually achieve total drawdown:
Support reforestation and conservation through our Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and a conservation corps that will plant five billion trees by 2030 on public and private land.
Incentivize and mandate green building and renewable energy standards, support homeowners and commercial firms to reduce carbon emissions, and most definitely support community solar.
Put a price on carbon dioxide to transition our power sector to be zero carbon before 2050, providing support for solar, wind, hydro, and nuclear energy.
Stabilize funding for our regulatory agencies and our core staff who make sure our parks are open, our game lands and fisheries thrive, and that industry is held accountable.
Special attention needs to be given to gas companies who have run roughshod over families, communities, and our land, water, and air, and have corrupted the legislature. Peter supports a full review of the industry, steeper penalties for bad actors, and a plan to phase out natural gas in the power and transportation sector.
I will work with my colleagues to advance environmental justice legislation to provide additional protections for those who have been least protected.