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Expectations for Gov-Elect Wolf to Protect Air and Water Quality

Cindy Dunn of Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future calls on incoming Gov. Tom Wolf to implement a strong Clean Power Plan for the state. Credit: PennFuture
December 1, 2014

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Governor-elect Tom Wolf will take office in time to oversee implementation of the Clean Power Plan, initiated by the Obama administration but developed by each state to address its own energy mix. Cindy Dunn, president and CEO with Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future, says the plan is pragmatic and do-able and could benefit the state.

"The public's spoken and they're really looking to Tom Wolf to provide much-needed oversight of the natural gas industry with the clear expectation he develop strong environmental regulations like he has discussed to tackle, specifically, methane pollution," Dunn says.

PennFuture is calling on the governor to produce a plan addressing leaks in production of natural gas, or methane, in the first 100 days of taking office. Dunn says that would have many benefits.

"The impacts of carbon beyond the issue of climate change are health benefits, benefits to local waterways, benefits to jobs, and also much cleaner local air quality," she says.

According to, money spent on solar and wind projects creates twice as many jobs as money spent developing coal or gas.

Dunn says it's true that gas burns cleaner than coal and oil, but she adds, "Unless the methane leakage is controlled from the well sites, compressor stations and pipelines, that benefit will not be realized because methane is a very powerful greenhouse gas in and of itself."

Dunn also notes, cleaning up leaks would benefit a gas company's bottom line.

The Clean Power Plan does not require the closing of any coal plants, but, environmental and health concerns aside, many coal plants are closing because they are old and are more expensive to operate than gas-fired plants. Dunn says other changes could also help shape the new energy mix.

"If we look at improvements with energy efficiency and carbon reduction through alternative energy, this can really take the pressure off of reductions that would come from coal," she says.

The public comment period on the Clean Power Plan ends today.

Melinda Tuhus, Public News Service - PA