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Hundreds Rally in Harrisburg for Climate Action, Clean Energy

SB 1195 would delay action for Pennsylvania on meeting federal Clean Power Plan goals. (John L. Alexandrowicz/Wikimedia Commons)
SB 1195 would delay action for Pennsylvania on meeting federal Clean Power Plan goals. (John L. Alexandrowicz/Wikimedia Commons)
June 14, 2016

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Hundreds traveled to Harrisburg today to rally for clean energy and climate action.

Calling themselves Clean Power PA, the broad coalition of environmental advocates, health professionals, business interests and concerned citizens came from across the Commonwealth.

Adam Garber, field director for PennEnvironment, says members of the General Assembly are out of step with their constituents.

"While they're attacking everything from the Clean Power Plan to new protections from fracking, citizens are coming to demand their legislators do something positive to reduce the climate pollution that's driving extreme weather and asthma attacks in our communities," says Garber.

Legislators have introduced bills they claim will save jobs and protect the energy industry from excessive federal and state rules. But according to Garber, those bills would undermine critical environmental programs.

In particular, he's concerned about Senate Bill 1195.

"Which would hamper the state's ability to come up with a strong Clean Power Plan to move us towards clean energy and an energy-efficient economy while slashing climate pollution," says Garber.

The federal Clean Power Plan, requiring states to meet goals for reducing carbon emission from power plants, has been put on hold by the U.S. Supreme Court as it is being challenged by several states.

Garber notes the Supreme Court has ruled several times that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate carbon emissions from a variety of sources.

"And we would be better off as a society if polluters recognize that reality and helped come up with a plan that moved us towards a clean energy future, rather than trying to delay any action," says Garber.

The advocates are also urging the General Assembly to reject bills that would loosen gas and oil drilling standards, or allow legislators to block implementation of environmental standards.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - PA