Pennsylvania State Senate Passes Climate Action Roadblock
Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), PennEnvironment, ConservationPA, Sierra Club, PennFuture, Clean Air Council and Moms Clean Air Force today slammed Pennsylvania State Senators for passing a bill that will hinder state efforts to reduce carbon pollution.
The Senate voted 31-to-17 today to pass HB 2354. The bill, which has already passed the House, will create unnecessary roadblocks against climate action and leave the state vulnerable to federal interference.
“It’s tragic that the Pennsylvania Senate today put polluters ahead of protecting public health,” said Jackson Morris, eastern energy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Equally appalling, state Senators put personal interests ahead of protecting Pennsylvanians’ health and their future. It’s time for the governor to do what’s right for Pennsylvania. He should veto this misguided and potentially unconstitutional bill that would make it harder to clean up the air and improve the health of all Pennsylvanians.”
“Pennsylvanians can’t afford to wait on another bureaucratic hurdle to clean up our air, curb dangerous pollution and build a clean energy economy. This misguided effort could take away our power to solve these challenges on our own, with our own experts, scientists, and innovators,” said Joanne Kilgour, Director of the Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter.
“This bill will allow politicians to overrule Pennsylvania’s best scientists, and interfere with the Department of Environmental Protection’s attempts to use the fastest and most effective measures to reduce carbon pollution,” said Gretchen Dahlkemper of Moms Clean Air Force. “This is an unprecedented move to put politics over science, and over the health and safety of Pennsylvania families.
“With the anniversary of Superstorm Sandy days away, it is shameful that our politicians in Harrisburg continue to stand in the way of action on climate change,” said Adam Garber, PennEnvironment Field Director. “Their decision to make it even harder to slash the largest source of carbon pollution in Pennsylvania will be felt by millions of Pennsylvanians who are faced with the consequences of extreme weather and flooding from the climate crisis.”
HB 2354 will make it harder for Pennsylvania to comply with the Clean Power Plan, which will put the first-ever national limits on carbon pollution from power plants. In Pennsylvania, power plants are responsible for 46 percent of the state’s carbon pollution.
HB 2354 will allow any one House of the state General Assembly to veto any greenhouse gas emission reduction plan required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). However, EPA is required to implement a federal plan in any state that does not provide its own. That means the state is now less able to enact its own plans, and more open to federal mandates.
“Pennsylvania’s scientists should be able to decide how to best meet the goals in EPA’s Clean Power Plan,” said Dahlkemper. “This bill takes decisions out of the hands of the people best qualified to make them, and it makes it harder for Pennsylvanians to protect their families from the dangers of climate change and unhealthy air pollution.”
“This misguided bill allows either chamber of the General Assembly to block and delay Pennsylvania from submitting its carbon rule compliance plan to the EPA, raising the likelihood that Pennsylvania cedes control of its compliance program to the federal government,” said Christina Simeone, Director of PennFuture’s Energy Center. “HB 2354 also raises serious constitutional issues related to the separation of powers.”
“Once again the fossil fuel industry has demonstrated its hold on the Pennsylvania Legislature and Pennsylvanians will suffer the consequences,” said Clean Air Council Executive Director Joseph Otis Minott, Esq.