Harrisburg – June 3, 2017 – Stunned at President Donald J. Trump’s dismissal of climate change and abandonment of the Paris climate accord, Senators Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) and Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny) today stated their intentions to position Pennsylvania to lead by example, absent federal leadership on environmental protection.
“Like you, Mr. President, I too was elected to represent the people of Pittsburgh – but I’m going to stick to my word. In the absence of federal leadership, I’m going to take steps to ensure a future for our children, providing an environment where people can grow, thrive and live healthy lives with an expectation that the water they’re drinking and the air they’re breathing is clean and safe.
“Pittsburgh has reinvented itself from the smoky city it once was to a modern, high-tech economy that treasures its clean environment. I refuse to idly sit back and be a spectator to this ill-conceived, short-sighted decision to turn back the dial on global progress. This decision needs to be seen for exactly what it is – an attack on humanity and future generations. It’s wrong and counterproductive.”
In response to the president’s announcement, Costa plans to introduce legislation to keep Pa on a steady path in the battle against climate change, requiring the state Department of Environmental Protection to adopt the requirements set forth in the Obama Clean Power Plan. Finalized during the Obama Administration, the plan was designed by the EPA to reduce greenhouse emissions by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
Under the plan, states were given individual targets, with Pa directed to reduce emissions by 29 million tons by 2030. Based on Pa’s transition from fossil fuels, plus its turn to natural gas production, investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency, the state is well positioned to meet the assigned target.
Costa’s legislation and focus on adopting the requirements of the Obama Clean Power Plan will extend beyond simply protecting the environment. It will recognize the potential of the plan to help grow jobs and build the economy.
“What the president failed to acknowledge while trying to make an example of Pittsburgh is that we are, along with the entire western region, a primary source of energy resources. From coal, to gas, nuclear, hydro and wind, there are benefits beyond measure of pursuing the entire portfolio of existing and renewable energy sources.
“I question why the president would want to stand in the way of progress and put the lives of Americans, especially our children at risk. That would seem in direct conflict with making America great again.”
Sen. Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny) added, “With the dubious exception of Syria and Nicaragua, all the nations of the world have joined together to do something about climate change. It’s sad and embarrassing that our nation is abandoning this worthy effort – and that our president used Pittsburgh as his example for why he made such a profoundly wrong decision.”