Our environment under attack in Washington DC

The Trump administration, polluters and their allies in Congress have made their intentions clear: use their power and influence to undo decades of bipartisan environmental and public health protections.

He signed an executive order to put the Keystone XL pipeline on a fast track to construction, another order designed to eliminate Clean Water Act protections for nearly 2 million miles of America’s streams, including 49,123 miles in Pennsylvania, and a third order rolling back the Clean Power Plan, effectively allowing power plants to emit more pollution and adding more soot to the air we breathe and more climate-destabilizing carbon pollution to the planet’s atmosphere.

From attacks to weaken the Clean Water Act, to gutting new initiatives to reduce global warming pollution, to opening up our public lands and pristine wild places for harmful fracking, mining and drilling--there’s so much at risk. This includes:

  • Eliminating Clean Water Act protections for nearly 2 million miles of streams across the country and nearly 50,000 miles of streams right here in Pennsylvania; 
  • Dismantling the Obama administration’s climate legacy by pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord, attacking fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks, and rolling back the Clean Power Plan which will effectively allowing power plants to emit more pollution into the air we breathe. 
  • Putting an anti-environmental leader and climate denier, Scott Pruitt, in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and proposing to eviscerate funding for this critical environmental watchdog agency;
  • Fast-tracking the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline;

Pennsylvanians want more, not fewer, safeguards to protect  our environment, public health  and the places we love.

These efforts to dismantle our environmental protections go against the core values shared by millions of Pennsylvanians and Americans.

The vast majority of us believe the health of our children is more valuable than the dollars saved when a company dumps pollution into our air or water. The investment in clean, renewable energy is a no-brainer when it comes to the future of our children and health of the planet. And Pennsylvanians from every political walk of life has enjoyed and recreated in our state parks and forests, and Pennsylvania’s iconic treasures that are part of America’s national park system like Gettysburg and Valley Forge. We embrace the idea that some places so special--some would even say sacred--that we’ve declared them off-limits to development. This legacy of preservation is one of our proudest achievements.

But our environmental values are meaningless if we don’t stand up and defend them when they’re under attack— especially given that polluters and other entrenched special interests want to put their short-term economic interests above the health of the American people and the environment we love.

Our path forward

PennEnvironment is working to mobilize a massive movement of citizens, local elected officials, business leaders, health experts and others who will stand up against this anti-environmental onslaught from  Washington DC.  We will use this to put pressure on Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation and U.S. senators. And PennEnvironment is working with our nationwide network of state affiliates through Environment America to coordinate our efforts and go state-by-state to figure out how to deliver the votes it takes to win in Congress  in order to  protect our health, environment and the places we love.

Now, it's up to us

The leaders and activists of the past saw the result of decades of unchecked pollution in our smog-covered skylines and our toxic rivers. They worked against all odds and, ultimately, their values won the day. Our environmental forbears organized the first Earth Day, supported and passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act, and created the Environmental Protection Agency. Now the torch passes to us.

The children we know and love today can live cleaner, healthier lives in a greener world, but only if we can keep our environmental protections in place and make them stronger. It’s up to us.

Issue updates

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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Blog Post

How to Spread the Word About Appliance Standards in Pennsylvania

Using our Pennsylvania flip book to advocate for the environment

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News Release | Environment America Research & Policy Center

Lawmakers and public push Whole Foods to put “Planet Over Plastic” at upcoming annual meeting

AUSTIN, Texas --  Environment America Research & Policy Center, U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Student PIRG sent 59,000 petitions and a letter signed by more than 40 state lawmakers Thursday to Whole Foods urging them to put planet over plastic.

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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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