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 | Environment America

Statement: U.S. House of Representatives must pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote early next week on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a major bipartisan package for transportation, clean water, power infrastructure and broadband. 

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News Release | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Release: Port Authority of Allegheny County urged to transition to electric vehicles

PITTSBURGH -- PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center and sixteen other groups representing a broad cross-section of Pittsburghers submitted a letter Friday calling on the Port Authority of Allegheny County to commit to fully electrify its fleet, to commit to using energy generated 100% from renewable sources, and to create detailed plans to ensure these goals

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News Release | PennEnvironment

#GO100PA: A RENEWABLE FUTURE FOR PENNSYLVANIA

(Harrisburg, PA)--- Senator Amanda M. Cappelletti (D- Montgomery, Delaware), Senator Katie Muth (D- Berks, Chester, Montgomery),  Representative Christopher Rabb (D-Philadelphia), and Representative Danielle Friel Otten (D-Chester) joined Flora Cardoni, Field Director for PennEnvironment and a dozen other state legislators in advocating for bold climate action now. The legislators and advocates were calling for “Go 100 PA,” legislation that would put Pennsylvania on track to reach 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. As illustrated by Hurricane Ida, which displaced hundreds of Pennsylvanians and caused over $100 million in damage, it is clear that the Commonwealth is feeling the effects of climate change here and now. These legislators put the responsibility on the legislature to act now.

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News Release | PennEnvironment

New report outlines key ways to reconnect nature through wildlife corridors

PHILADELPHIA -- As biodiversity in Pennsylvania and around the globe continues to decline, a new report highlights key projects that are working to reconnect nature through “wildlife corridors.” The report from PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center offers examples of how human-made barriers that hinder species migration and travel can be modified to allow animals to safely traverse through natural corridors between habitats, and could be replicated here in Pennsylvania. The report comes as a bipartisan measure to connect habitat awaits action in the Pennsylvania legislature. At the federal level, the recent passage of the “INVEST in America Act” (HR 3684) by  Congress would provide the funds to build overpasses and tunnels so that wildlife can cross roads. The case studies in this report could be replicated in Pennsylvania

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News Release | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Statement: PennEnvironment applauds regulatory agency vote to approve RGGI

HARRISBURG -- The Pennsylvania Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC)  approved Pennsylvania’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) Wednesday by a vote of 3-2. Established in 2008, RGGI is a bipartisan multi-state program that addresses carbon pollution by setting a cap on carbon emissions from power plants, which is lowered each year. It is considered the most successful state-level program for reducing global warming pollution in the nation. Currently, 11 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia) participate in this program. 

This decision follows nearly two years of regulatory review and public input, including a public comment period at the end of 2020 that showed Pennsylvanians overwhelmingly support joining this program. In addition, the Environmental Quality Board voted earlier this summer to adopt the final rulemaking as well. While Wednesday’s decision marks the final step in the regulatory process, legal and legislative challenges are expected throughout the fall.

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