PEC urges quick action on climate change legislation

Harrisburg, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) today urged the state House and Senate to approve legislation that would require the development of a plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the state – a plan that could build on the work done in PEC’s Climate Change Roadmap for Pennsylvania.

“Climate change is already happening around the world and right here in Pennsylvania, but its impacts can be reduced if we take decisive action,” said Brian Hill, President and CEO of PEC. “And since Pennsylvania is responsible for one percent of worldwide emissions of greenhouse gases – more than 105 developing nations combined – it is imperative for the state to adopt meaningful emission-reduction policies.”

Hill noted that the same policies and initiatives that address climate change would at the same time support energy independence, reduced energy costs, cleaner air and water, and economic development and job creation.

Senator Ted Erickson and Representative Greg Vitali have introduced bipartisan legislation (Senate Bill 266 and House Bill 110) to require the state to inventory and develop a broad plan to reduce Pennsylvania’s greenhouse gas emissions. Senator Erickson’s bill has passed committee and is soon expected to come up for a vote in the Senate. The Vitali bill, with amendments offered by Representative Dave Reed, has already passed the House.

“These bills would bring about a state-sponsored plan that would be able to draw extensively from the Climate Change Roadmap for Pennsylvania that PEC put out a few months ago,” Hill said, noting that PEC’s Roadmap included a comprehensive, sector-by-sector inventory of greenhouse gas emissions along with 38 policy recommendations for reducing those emissions in the Commonwealth.

The Roadmap was the result of a two year, multi-stakeholder effort which included representatives from energy generation, agriculture, capital investment, government, academia, and nongovernmental organizations.

Hill noted that Pennsylvania is already recognized nationally for green buildings, wind power, methane recovery, and a commitment to cleaner vehicles and fuels., adding, “These accomplishments are just one piece of a much larger puzzle in relation to climate change; solving that puzzle will require comprehensive policy changes which address a broad range of activities and virtually every sector of our economy.

“Because of our large levels of greenhouse gas emissions, Pennsylvania must adopt a climate change strategy that puts it at the forefront of state leadership. Senate Bill 266 and House Bill 110 are a tremendous first step in that strategy, and we believe our Climate Change Roadmap can further inform the effort,” he said. “We urge the General Assembly to give final approval to this vital legislation.”