Carbon pollution threatens our health

Carbon pollution spewing from power plants threatens Pennsylvanians’ health.  Doctors, nurses and scientists warn that it fuels global warming, which triggers poor air quality that makes it harder for children to breathe and contributes to thousands of asthma attacks, heart attacks and other fatal diseases.

Studies show that 836,880 Pennsylvania adults and 228,593 children already suffer from asthma.  Nationwide, smog pollution alone leads to roughly 4,700 premature deaths and 19,000 emergency room visits.  Allowing power plants to continue emitting unlimited amounts of carbon pollution will mean more global warming and dirtier air for Pennsylvanians.

Scientists also warn that global warming is expected to lead to more devastating floods, deadly heat waves and many other threats.

Coal-fired power plants need to be cleaned up

Coal-fired power plants are the largest single source of carbon pollution, yet they currently lack any federal limits on their carbon emissions.  And Pennsylvania’s power plants are a big part of the problem, emitting more carbon pollution than power plants in all but four other states.  

But big utilities like GenOn, which have been allowed for decades to spew unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into our air, all while taking in enormous government subsidies, are sure to fight for more of the same.  They’ll join with the coal companies and spend millions on lobbying advertising to try and get off the hook for cutting carbon pollution from their dirty power plants. 

With your help, we can make history

Enough is enough, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency agrees.  Despite these powerful industry naysayers, the EPA is developing the first-ever carbon pollution standards for new power plants.

Now comes the hard part—getting these standards across the finish line and overcoming the corporate polluters’ opposition.  So we’re working closely with our allies in the public health community, working to rally tens of thousands of activists to stand up for public health and our environment.  

It won’t be easy, but if enough of us speak out, we can drown out the coal industry lobbyists and make sure EPA is allowed to do its job and protect public health.




Clean Air Updates

News Release | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

‘Toxic Ten’ report singles out Allegheny County’s new most- toxic air polluter

PITTSBURGH --  Allegheny County’s “Toxic Ten” industrial air polluters collectively released more than 1 million pounds of toxic air pollution in 2019, according to a new report by PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center. The pollution included toxic chemicals such as benzene (a carcinogen), chromium (a carcinogen and respiratory irritant), and manganese (a neurotoxin). The full ranking, along with a tool allowing residents to find out how close they live to the Toxic Ten, is available at www.ToxicTen.org.

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News Release | PennEnvironment

PennEnvironment Statement: State Senators introduce legislative package to limit harms from fracking

PITTSBURGH -- Pennsylvania lawmakers today unveiled a package of legislation to address the most egregious problems with fracking by implementing the recommendations from last year’s grand jury report. The investigation found that Pennsylvania’s leaders had “failed” to protect the public from fracking and allowed the industry to damage public health.

The specific legislation announced and highlighted at the Zoom news conference include legislation introduced by state Senator Katie Muth to require disclosure of chemicals used in fracking (SB651), air and water monitoring (SB 652), and public health response legislation (SB654); Senator Maria Collett to give jurisdiction to the Office of the Attorney General to address fracking violations (SB 655, SB 656, and SB 657); Senator John Sabatina to address the transportation of fracking waste (SB 653); and Democratic Chairwoman of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Carolyn Comitta to increase setbacks from fracking well pads for schools and other vulnerable populations (SB650). 

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News Release | PennEnvironment

Statement: Pittsburgh City Council plans to ban plastic bags

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh City Council passed a resolution Tuesday stating their intent to pass a citywide ban on single-use plastic bags, were it not for a state law preempting local governments from doing so. The resolution, introduced last week by Councilmember Erika Strassburger, means Pennsylvania’s two largest cities could soon join forces to protect the Commonwealth from plastic pollution and the health and environmental degradation it causes. In March, Philadelphia, along with the boroughs of West Chester and Narberth, and Lower Merion Township, filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the General Assembly’s preemption law. The passage of Councilmember Strassburger’s resolution opens the door for the City of Pittsburgh to file a legal motion in support of that suit.

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News Release | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

New Study: PA electric vehicle program expansion could lead to 18-million-ton yearly reduction in state’s climate pollution

PHILADELPHIA – Pennsylvania could reduce its climate pollution by 18 million metric tons annually -- the equivalent of taking nearly 4 million gas-powered vehicles off the road --  by expanding its clean cars program to include a Zero Emissions Vehicles (ZEV) program, according to a new study released Thursday.  This report comes out just after the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) proposed the Keystone State embrace a ZEV program. 

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Report | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Cleaner Cars for PA

Transportation is one of Pennsylvania’s leading sources of the air pollution that harms our health and contributes to global warming. One-quarter of Pennsylvania’s greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation and more than a third of the nitrogen oxide emissions that contribute to harmful ozone smog come from highway vehicles.

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