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Pennsylvania Sporting Groups Want Carbon Reduction for "Brookies"

PHOTO: A coalition of 65 groups representing Pennsylvania hunters, anglers and outdoor recreationists have written the EPA in support of the agency's proposed Clean Power Plan. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
PHOTO: A coalition of 65 groups representing Pennsylvania hunters, anglers and outdoor recreationists have written the EPA in support of the agency's proposed Clean Power Plan. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
October 28, 2014

PHILADELPHIA - A coalition of Pennsylvania outdoor businesses, outfitters, hunting and fishing groups, and outdoor-recreation advocates say the EPA is on track with its proposed Clean Power Plan.

The Tri-County Trout Club near Pittsburgh is one of the organizations that signed a letter in support of the federal agency's proposal to reduce carbon pollution nationwide.

Club president Steve Hegedus says his earliest memory involves fishing in a small stream for "brookies," or brook trout - a cold-water species that's already being impacted by habitat loss, as well as changes in snow and rain patterns.

"Brookies are a temperature-sensitive fish," says Hegedus. "Their habitat range can decrease by 30 percent or 40 percent with only a very small change in air temperature."

The brook trout is the Pennsylvania state fish.

Hegedus cites the connection between slowing the pace of climate change and preserving Pennsylvania's outdoor heritage, lifestyle and economy. The outdoor recreation industry brings in some two billion dollars annually to Pennsylvania.

Cindy Dunn, CEO of conservation organization PennFuture, discounts the argument the EPA proposal is forsaking jobs in "going too far" to protect clean water. She says improving energy efficiency will result in local jobs to install equipment and systems, and notes state standards already are in place for renewable-energy production.

"We're already partway toward that goal," she says. "Under the EPA's plan the states are expected to generate about 13 percent, but we think we can surpass that. We're already well on our way."

More than 300 groups nationally signed the letter. The Clean Power Plan requires reduction goals for each state, but also leaves it up to each individual state how to best reach those standards.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - PA