Senate Democrats, Pittsburgh Mayor Advance Efforts on Climate Change Despite Trump

Harrisburg – June 13, 2017 –  Committed to positioning Pennsylvania as a leader in the battle against global climate change, Sens. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny), Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny) and Anthony Williams (D-Philadelphia/Delaware), along with Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto today outlined legislation to support the continuation of the Obama Clean Power Plan.

“The recent actions of President Trump to dismiss the realities of climate change and abandon the Paris climate accord will be felt from Pennsylvania to Paris,” Costa said.  “We have a moral and ethical responsibility as elected officials to do the right thing, at the right time for the right reasons. 

“Ensuring a healthy future for our children IS the right reason — and the time is now.”

 

Legislation being introduced by Costa, Fontana and Williams would ensure that Pennsylvania continue to fulfill its responsibility in fighting global climate change, meet commitments under the Paris climate accord and attains the goals set forth in the Obama Clean Power Plan.

Under the Clean Power Plan, Pennsylvania was required to reduce its emissions by 29 million tons, or 24 percent below 2012 levels by 2030.  Pennsylvania is well-positioned to meet this target given its current transition from coal generation and growing investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The legislation would require the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to revisit the plan it was pursuing just months ago for submission to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Rather than submit the plan to the EPA, the bill would require the DEP to submit it to the General Assembly for final approval and subsequent implementation statewide.

Fontana again called on the president to reconsider his decision and the impact it will have for generations to come, after using Pittsburgh as an example in his announcement to leave the Paris accord.

 “Again, I urge President Trump to visit Pittsburgh and meet with city and business leaders to get a better understanding of our city’s transformation from a gritty industrial town to a thriving and economically diverse metropolis,” Fontana said. “They can also explain to him how the Paris Agreement would strengthen Pittsburgh, our region and our country.”

Williams said that the president’s decision to leave the Paris agreement will have significant local impact. 

“The Paris climate accord should not be a partisan issue and removing the United States from the agreement was a mistake,” Williams said.  “The impact of this decision has significant local impact.  Children in the city and suburbs, those with asthma and other breathing disorders, low income families and others will be deeply affected because of the change in the climate. 

“We need a singular voice and vision on climate change because it is real and it has such a wide reach. Given the decision on the federal level, Pennsylvania lawmakers have little choice but to move forward on their own and fix the problem.”

Following the president’s decision, mayors from across the nation, including Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto joined forces and redoubled their collective efforts to combat climate change.

“Pittsburgh — and Pennsylvania — need to keep being leaders in fighting climate change, despite poor decision-making by the President. I want to thank Senators Costa, Fontana and Williams for their commitment to our planet, and to future generations of Pennsylvanians.”

-30-