Pa. must cut greenhouse gasses, experts tell House panel

(Mar 02, 2015)

HARRISBURG, March 2 – Pennsylvania, which produces almost 1 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases, must use more renewable energy, become more energy efficient and reduce methane emissions to help address climate change, a panel of experts testified Monday. Read more


Legislation introduced to reduce Pennsylvania's greenhouse gas emissions

(Feb 19, 2015)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 19 – State Rep. Greg Vitali unveiled legislation designed to encourage Pennsylvania to reduce greenhouse gas emissions during a news conference today in the Capitol. He was joined by representatives of environmental organizations, a professor and a legislator who voiced support for the legislation. "Pennsylvania has a duty to work toward carbon neutrality because it produces almost 1 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases," said Vitali, the Democratic chairman of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee. "The legislature and Gov. Tom Wolf must find ways to reduce the use of fossil fuels and shift to renewable energy." To work toward that goal, Vitali has introduced three bills that would increase the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard, permanently fund the Sunshine Solar program and reduce the demand for energy. "Too much of our energy comes from dirty sources that harm the environment and our communities -- but it doesn't have to be that way," said Elowyn Corby, PennEnvironment’s global warming and clean energy associate. "We can harness abundant and pollution-free energy from the wind and the sun. Legislation like this shows how Harrisburg can help us get to the clean energy future Pennsylvanians deserve." Joanne Kilgour, director of the Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter, said increasing the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard to require Read more


Vitali: Pennsylvania must work toward carbon neutrality

(Jan 26, 2015)

The world must become carbon neutral by mid to late century to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, according to a United Nations report released in November. And with Pennsylvania producing almost 1 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases, it has a duty to work toward carbon neutrality. Rather than increasing the production of natural gas, Gov. Tom Wolf and the new legislature must work toward reducing all fossil-fuel use and shift to renewable energy. Over three-quarters of the energy consumed in Pennsylvania comes from fossil fuels — coal, natural gas, and oil — while only about 4 percent comes from renewable sources like wind and solar, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. In recent years Pennsylvania has created a friendly environment for natural-gas production while doing little to increase renewables. It has foregone the imposition of a severance tax on the natural-gas industry, extended the largest tax break in state history to natural-gas cracker plants, and provided millions in grant money for the conversion of fleet vehicles to natural gas. While natural gas has the environmental benefit of displacing dirty, carbon-dioxide-emitting coal- fired power plants, it also has significant climate change drawbacks: The combustion of natural gas also emits significant quantities of carbon dioxide. Additionally, the main component of natural gas is methane, another potent greenhouse gas. Fugitive methane emissions pose a Read more


Vitali reappointed Democratic chairman of House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee

(Jan 05, 2015)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 5 – State Rep. Greg Vitali, D-Delaware, was reappointed by Democratic Leader Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny, to serve as Democratic chairman of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee for the 2015-16 legislative session. Vitali served as Democratic chairman of the committee during the 2013-14 legislative session.In addition to advancing energy and environmental legislation, the committee oversees the state departments of Environmental Protection and Conservation and Natural Resources.“This appointment puts me in a position to be a strong voice for good environmental policy,” Vitali said. "I thank Democratic leadership for their trust and I look forward to working on environmental initiatives.”Vitali plans to introduce five bills to help protect the environment. The bills would:Require electric distribution companies, such as PECO and PPL, to buy more of their power from wind, solar and other clean energy sources.Require rents and royalties from oil and gas leases on commonwealth-owned land to be used exclusively for conservation, recreation, dams or flood control projects.Provide $25 million per year to the now-defunct PA Sunshine Solar Program. The solar program has provided rebates to homeowners and small businesses that install solar systems.Impose a moratorium on additional leasing of state lands for natural gas drilling, exploration or production.Encourage electric and natural gas distribution utilities to implement energy efficiency and Read more