Our environment is a finite resource and the Pennsylvania Constitution mandates that “people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.”

The General Assembly must take this directive seriously and the Senate Democrats are leading on many fronts.

This includes:

Fighting Climate Change

Climate Change is real. Denial only delays the inevitable and increases the price tag and technical difficulty of the eventual solution, if it’s not too late already. Greenhouse gases from human activity are the primary driver of climate change. Worldwide, net emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities increased by 35 percent from 1990 to 2010. Emissions of carbon dioxide, which account for about three-fourths of total emissions, increased by 42 percent over this period. The Senate Democrats have a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emission now, and it must be implemented. It’s time to move toward renewable sources of energy, which ultimately enhances our energy independence.

Severance for Growing Greener

A tax on an environmental resource should be used to benefit the environment. We should impose a severance tax to fund a new round of Growing Greener programs. This should include renewable energy investments, cleaning up legacy pollution, protecting and improving watersheds and open spaces, and helping our agricultural industry.

Pipeline Safety

The Marcellus Shale drilling boom and hydraulic fracking have set off a massive pipeline construction surge that is intruding and threatening many communities. Pipelines are encroaching on residential communities, schools, and water sources creating potential hazards that must be addressed. Environmental laws and regulators must keep up with this new phase of construction to protect communities, families, and our children.

Addressing Lead Contamination and Protecting Drinking Water

Flint, Michigan has turned out to not be an isolated incident. Many communities in Pennsylvania have lead contamination issues that have to be addressed to protect our drinking water. Often taken for granted, an we’ve made enormous investments to deliver water. More needs to be done to remove lead from drinking water systems and to protect children from its developmental impacts.

Maintaining the State Forest Drilling Moratorium

Pennsylvania has an amazing treasure in our state forests and parks. Much space has already been leased away in our forests for gas drilling development. What is left must be protected for the enjoyment and use of our many recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, and off-roading.

Our Members at Work

State Senate Committee Holds Second Hearing on Global Warming

PITTSBURGH, April 23, 2019 – At the request of state Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-Forest Hills) and Senator Wayne Fontana (D-Brookline), the Senate Democratic Policy Committee held a hearing today in Pittsburgh on strategies for combatting climate change by...

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Sen. Muth to Introduce Pipeline Safety Legislation

 Harrisburg – March 19, 2019 – Sen. Katie Muth (D- Berks/Chester/Montgomery) announced that she will be introducing two pieces of legislation that would mandate specific safety and public awareness standards for pipeline construction and operation. “While...

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Senator Collett Reacts to EPA PFAS Plan Announcement

NORTH WALES – February 14, 2019 – The acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Andrew Wheeler, today announced the EPA’s intended nationwide PFAS action plan. Addressing the urgent PFAS crisis is Senator Maria Collett’s (D-12) top...

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