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COSMOS: Glacier melting underwater up to 100 times faster than thought

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Bipartisan, bicameral legislators join call for quick, strong advancement of methane rules in face of federal rollbacks

(4 hours ago)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 17 – A bipartisan group of state legislators joined environmental organizations today to urge Gov. Tom Wolf to advance a crucial state Department of Environmental Protection rule to cut methane pollution from the natural gas industry. The legislators urged the governor to act on his 2016 plan now, in the face of proposed rollbacks of federal methane standards by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Controls that Wolf’s administration already emplaced cover new oil and gas drilling technology. The lawmakers said they also want Wolf to enact standards that cover methane emissions on existing sources of infrastructure used for natural gas development. “The climate crisis is urgent, and targeting infrastructure that has been polluting Pennsylvania for nearly a decade is necessary to protect clean air – especially as the Trump administration moves in the opposite direction,” said Rep. Steve McCarter, D- Montgomery . Recent analysis by Environmental Defense Fund found that methane emissions from Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry, the second largest in the nation, are five times higher than what is reported to the state Department of Environmental Protection – a staggering 520,000 tons of methane every year. “Gov. Wolf stood with us in July as we announced the state’s entry into the U.S. Climate Alliance and pointed to methane reduction as one of the solutions. Pennsylvania needed Read more

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Congress urged to make ‘Apollo-type’ investment to combat climate disaster

(Jul 26, 2019)

WASHINGTON — Climate change could cost Americans billions of dollars, destroy coastal communities and put agriculture, healthcare and military facilities at risk unless the government acts swiftly, experts warned Congress Wednesday. Read more

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Cities, attorneys general call for new leader of PJM Interconnection to focus on clean energy

(Jul 26, 2019)

After Andy Ott, CEO of PJM Interconnection, stepped down last month, the power grid operator has received appeals from around the country to ensure its next leader prioritizes clean energy. Read more

McCarter joins with Gov. Wolf, bipartisan and bicameral legislators and climate experts to announce Climate Action Plan, Pa.’s entry into U.S. Climate Alliance

(Apr 29, 2019)

HARRISBURG, April 29 — State Rep. Steve McCarter, D-Montgomery, joined with Gov. Tom Wolf, state Sens. Steve Santarsiero, Art Haywood, Jay Costa, House Democratic Leader Rep. Frank Dermody, Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell, fellow members of the Climate Caucus and others to announce Pennsylvania’s climate action plan and its membership in the U.S. Climate Alliance . “Thanks to all of you for helping to support this next step in Pennsylvania’s plan to deal with the problem of climate change,” said McCarter, founder and co-chair of the Pennsylvania Climate Caucus . “Hardly a week or even a day goes by that we’re not reminded of the changes happening across our planet, our nation and this commonwealth. Emerging heat waves, rampant wildfires, drought and devastating floods have all become the new normal. “The scientific community has been very clear: What we are witnessing now is only the beginning of what has surely become humanity’s greatest concern. By joining forces here today, this group of legislators and climate experts plan to honor our commitments to act, find climate solutions, and protect our workers and communities from the ravages of social and economic change caused by climate change.” With dozens of legislative supporters standing with McCarter, Wolf, Santarsiero, Dermody and others Monday at the Capitol Media Center in Harrisburg, the group announced Read more

Comitta, McCarter seek to modernize Pennsylvania’s renewable energy standards

(Apr 17, 2019)

HARRISBURG, April 17 — At a Capitol news conference, state Reps. Carolyn T. Comitta, D-Chester, and Steve McCarter, D-Montgomery, joined state Sens. Art Haywood, Thomas H. Killion and Steven J. Santarsiero to call attention to climate change, its grave impacts and the urgent need to modernize the commonwealth’s renewable energy standards. Comitta and McCarter are both members of the bicameral, bipartisan Pennsylvania Climate Caucus. Comitta is vice chair; McCarter is its founder and chair. Their bill and a Senate companion bill introduced by Haywood, Killion and Santarsiero both seek to implement stronger renewable energy goals within the commonwealth to create good jobs, cut pollution and ensure a sustainable and prosperous Pennsylvania for future generations. “I am proud to join the calls for modernizing the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards,” Comitta said. “Our state has already made important investments in alternative and clean-energy technologies, but we must do more. Adjusting our electrical energy requirements to 30 percent by 2030 will solidify our path to reducing our carbon footprint and advance Pennsylvania toward becoming a national energy leader.” The Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act was a forward-looking policy when it was enacted in 2004. But in the intervening years, Pennsylvania has fallen behind neighboring states like New Jersey and Maryland, which have enacted stronger energy standards, creating Read more

Otten bill offsetting Turnpike expansion with more green space passes House

(Mar 18, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 18 – The state House of Representatives last week passed Rep. Danielle Friel Otten’s bill to allow Marsh Creek State Park to release a parcel of land adjacent to the Turnpike in exchange for land that would expand the park’s trail network and protect local wetlands and wildlife habitat. The land along the turnpike, consisting primarily of rock and road berm, was originally purchased with public Project 70 funds, so it cannot be sold or transferred unless it’s replaced with land of an equal or greater value. H.B. 387 would release that strip of land from Project 70 restrictions but transfer Project 70 protections to the new larger wooded, wetland parcel to be acquired by the park. “Under this plan, we’re showing that development doesn’t have to cost the county’s beautiful and important natural spaces,” said Otten, D-Chester. “This is a win for conservation, Chester County residents, and all Pennsylvanians.” The new parcel is part of a larger, 57-acre land preservation project coordinated among the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Natural Lands Trust, and the Turnpike Commission. The parcel of land released under the bill would allow the Turnpike Commission to widen the road. The bill now awaits consideration in the state Senate. Read more

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National Caucus of Environmental Legislators

(Feb 27, 2019)

The organization empowers a nonpartisan network of legislative champions to protect, conserve, and improve the natural and human environment. Read more

1/24/19 – Methane and Climate Change – Havertown

(Feb 21, 2019)

Materials from House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing hosted by State Rep. Greg Vitali. Read more

Vitali, Sturla hold public hearing on oil and gas industry methane leakage

(Feb 21, 2019)

HAVERFORD TOWNSHIP, Jan. 24 – State Rep. Greg Vitali, D-Delaware/Montgomery, today hosted a hearing of the House Democratic Policy Committee to discuss the impact of methane leakage from Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry on climate change. The hearing explored ways in which methane affects climate change and how Pennsylvania can better monitor methane leakage from the oil and gas industry. “Methane is the second-most prevalent greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide, and a significant amount of that methane comes from oil and gas development,” Vitali said. Speakers included Dr. Richard Alley , Professor of Geosciences, Penn State University; Professor Don Brown , Scholar in Residence, Widener Law; Dr. Tony Ingraffea , Emeritus Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University; Professor Peter DeCarlo , Associate Professor of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering , Drexel University; Rob Altenburg , Director , PennFuture Energy Center; Andrew Williams , Director of Regulatory and Legislative Affairs, U.S. Climate and Energy , Environmental Defense Fund; Dr. Arvind Ravikumar , Assistant Professor of Energy Engineering , Harrisburg University of Science and Technology; Leann Leiter , Pennsylvania and Ohio Field Advocate , EarthWorks; and Krish Ramamurthy , Director of Bureau of Air Quality, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Vitali also was joined by fellow state legislators, including House Read more

McCarter applauds executive order establishing statewide goal to reduce carbon pollution in Pennsylvania

(Feb 21, 2019)

HARRISBURG , Jan. 8 – State Rep. Steve McCarter, D-Montgomery, issued the following statement after Gov. Tom Wolf signed an executive order establishing the first statewide goal to reduce carbon pollution in Pennsylvania and the GreenGov Council: “Today’s executive order appropriately targets best practices for environmental sustainability. The threats posed through pollutants and the impacts of climate change reflect that it is now more important than ever to put forth measures that will protect the future of our state. “As a member of the Climate Caucus and representative of the 154 th Legislative District, I see first-hand the communities that would be greatly impacted if we don’t address this environmental issue immediately. This issue directly influences every facet of our day-to-day lives that include health, agriculture, industry and our economy as a whole. “I applaud the governor’s action today to address climate change and strongly support his efforts to improve energy efficiency and green practices across our commonwealth. The benefits will help to support a more fiscally responsible government and taxpayer savings for hardworking Pennsylvanians now and in the future." The executive order details the commonwealth will work toward achieving a 26 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 and an 80 percent reduction by 2050, from 2005 levels. The executive order also establishes the GreenGov Council, Read more