Saturday, July 2, 2022


The U.S. Supreme Court strips the EPA's power to curb pollution, California takes a big step toward universal health care, and a Florida judge will temporarily block the state's 15-week abortion ban.


SCOTUS significantly limits the Clean Air Act and rules against the "Stay in Mexico" policy, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is sworn in to office, and President Biden endorses a filibuster carveout for abortion rights.


From flying saucers to bologna: America's summer festivals kick off, rural hospitals warn they do not have the necessities to respond in the post-Roe scramble, advocates work to counter voter suppression, and campaigns encourage midterm voting in Indian Country.

Could PA Gas Preemption Bill Derail Local Climate Action Plans?


Friday, June 11, 2021   

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- A gas preemption bill in the state Senate would prevent Pennsylvania municipalities from adopting policies to restrict or prohibit methane gas use in new homes and buildings, in favor of using electricity.

Critics of the measure say it could especially hurt areas like Bethlehem, which has its own climate plan and has reduced municipal greenhouse-gas emissions by 37% from 2005 to 2017.

Robert Routh, public policy and regulatory counsel for the Clean Air Council, said the bill would hinder local communities' clean energy goals.

"The bill as currently written is over-broad," Routh argued. "And it has the potential to chill any municipal efforts to, say, adopt new energy-efficiency measures, or even to offer financial incentives to developers to pursue all-electric construction for new buildings."

Senate Bill 275 is still in committee, but Routh believes with the state's deep ties to the gas industry, it's likely the bill will pass, or be included in the budget as an amendment.

Appliances that use fossil-fuel energy sources account for 11% of greenhouse gas emissions in Pennsylvania, according to the Department of Environmental Protection.

Logan Welde, staff attorney and director of legislative affairs for the Council, thinks the policy could halt progress in curbing emissions.

"If we can't reduce the amount of gas that we're pulling out of the ground, transporting and burning, we are not going to be able to be on track to reduce the greenhouse-gas emissions that we really have to do."

A 2021 Department of Environmental Protection climate change impact assessment estimates the state is on course for a six-degree temperature increase by mid-century.

Rachel Golden, deputy director of the Clean Buildings Campaign for the Sierra Club, noted the Senate bill is part of a trend her organization is seeing in the U.S.

"The gas industry has seen this momentum, and they feel it is an existential threat to their business model," Golden asserted. "It's important to understand that the gas industry's main revenue source from delivering gas to end users is to homes and buildings."

She pointed out homes and buildings account for 94% of gas industry revenue in Pennsylvania, higher than the national average of 87%.

get more stories like this via email
While most classrooms are empty right now, lingering concerns from the previous school year, such as the pandemic's effect on students and staff, are being dissected ahead of next year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Research is emerging about the secondary trauma school staff members face after helping students during the pandemic. As summer moves forward…

Health and Wellness

A Florida judge plans to put a hold on the state's new, 15-week abortion ban, set to take effect today. He said it is unconstitutional and will issue …


The Environmental Protection Agency now has fewer tools to fight climate change, after the U.S. Supreme Court stripped the agency of its authority to …

The only memorial to Anne Frank is located in Boise. (Kencf0618/Wikimedia Commons)

Social Issues

Three projects in Idaho have been selected to receive grants from the AARP Community Challenge. Among them is the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in …


Montanans get a sense of what soil health is like on farms and ranches across the state with Northern Plains Resource Council's soil crawls. The …

Medicare fraud costs taxpayers an estimated $60 billion each year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

A new tool aims to help older adults in Arkansas and beyond who receive Medicare track what happens at their doctor appointments. It also can help …

Social Issues

A campaign in Maine is gathering signatures to replace the state's investor-owned energy grid with a consumer-owned utility. Central Maine Power (…

Social Issues

Another important U.S. Supreme Court ruling this month has been overshadowed by the controversy about overturning abortion rights. Legal experts say …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021