CCL’s take on the new political landscape in D.C.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby, 11/7/18

The elections are over, the people have spoken, and now the Democrats control the House of Representatives. In the following statements, CCL Executive Director Mark Reynolds and CCL VP for Government Affairs Danny Richter provide some perspective on what we can expect in this new political landscape.

Mark Reynolds: “Now that Democrats control the House, there is great potential to move bipartisan legislation to price carbon. I emphasize ‘bipartisan,’ because the only way to enact an effective and enduring solution is to have buy-in from both sides of the aisle. We believe a market-based solution, putting a fee on carbon and returning revenue to households, can find the common ground between Republicans and Democrats. With the IPCC warning that we have little more than a decade to take the ‘unprecedented’ actions needed to avoid the worst outcomes of climate change, we can’t kick the can down an ever-shortening road.”

“We also want to thank Carlos Curbelo for his leadership with the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, and we hope he’ll find a way to continue that leadership on climate change outside of Congress. Curbelo’s defeat, however, does not signal the end of the caucus. We’re confident other Republicans will step up to lead, and the existing and potential members are invested in continuing bipartisan work on climate. To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the death of the Climate Solutions Caucus are greatly exaggerated.”

Danny Richter: “With Democrats chairing committees, we’re likely to see hearings that provide a robust and constructive dialogue on climate solutions, like the carbon fee and dividend policy recently announced in Canada. We’re also wasting no time getting the ball rolling on legislation to price carbon. On Nov. 13, we’ll send 621 citizen lobbyists to Capitol Hill to generate the bipartisan momentum to move forward with a bill in the 116th Congress and make climate change a bridge issue, not a wedge issue. We’ll continue working on both sides of that bridge.”

Read Mark Reynolds’ further thoughts on the future of the bipartisan Climate Solution Caucus in The Hill

Documentary on PA Environmental Rights Amendment features the Delaware Riverkeeper

News from Delaware Riverkeeper Network, a member of the Chester County Environment Alliance:

Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, was featured on the State Impact Pennsylvania documentary “Generations Yet To Come: The story of environmental rights in Pennsylvania,” which focuses on Article 1 Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, known as Pennsylvania’s Green Amendment. Van Rossum and her team were instrumental in the 2013 legal victory Robinson Township v Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that breathed life back into the amendment.

Van Rossum was the featured speaker at the Sept. 8, 2018, Chester County March for Climate Justice and Environment.

Read more in “DRN & 7 Towns Challenge & Defeat Act 13.” Excerpt:

…”The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued its decision on December 19, 2013. In that decision the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that Act 13 violates the Pennsylvania Constitution on the grounds that it violates the Environmental Rights Amendment. In doing so, the Court held that the right to pure water, clean air and a healthy environment are fundamental rights that must be given high-priority consideration and protection by every level of Pennsylvania’s government. The Court’s decision also struck down the shale gas industry’s effort to force every municipality in the state to allow gas drilling and related industrial operations in every zoning district. The Court’s decision upheld the ability of local governments to protect their local communities and natural resources through zoning….”

Watch the 26-minute documentary here, including also Franklin Kury [photo Kury speaking in the video], who as a young legislator secured passage of the state’s 1971 “Green Amendment,” which reads:

“The 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.”

But as the documentary brings out, municipalities still need to zone properly to keep threats to residents’ welfare out of residential districts. And some interviewees still uphold the industry point of view that the courts should defer to the legislature, which of course is heavily influenced by industry donations, and that “property rights” confer a right to pollute and degrade the environment. Constant vigilance is still needed!

Compare to pipeline operators’ current attempts to place pipelines wherever suits them?

Tell State Senators: Vote NO on Environmental Rollbacks

email from PennFuture

PennFuture is continuing its fight against legislation that would turn the clock back on environmental protection, and we need your help and your action TODAY. We need you to use your voices to fight a destructive bill that is moving through the Pennsylvania State Senate, aimed at dismantling environmental protections across the Commonwealth.

House Bill 2154 is likely to be voted on in the Senate in the next TWO DAYS and we need you to help stop it NOW. Tell your Senator to vote NO on this dangerous rollback. This bill passed the PA House of Representatives in June and is now being fast-tracked through the State Senate. We need you to urge them to safeguard the air you breathe and the water you drink rather than turn a blind eye to polluting companies acting in bad faith.

House Bill 2154 would significantly change the environmental requirements for conventional oil and gas drilling operators, putting clean air and pure water in jeopardy.

It would reenact the Oil and Gas Act of 1984 for conventional oil and gas drilling operators, turning back the clock on standards by 34 years, rejecting modern technology.

It promotes the use of drilling fluids and wastewater without any supporting scientific evidence deeming it safe for the public, potentially leaving your family at risk. This broadly threatens surface water in rural areas, where many of the highest quality streams and headwaters are located.

This bill opens the door to more drilling operations across Pennsylvania, which further endangers our air and water.

This bill eliminates protections for public resources, such as parks, forests and wildlife preserves.

It will weaken public health regulations in favor of profits for polluters.

Your continued action is needed now. Please contact your state senators and urge them to vote NO on rolling back Pennsylvania’s environmental protections!

TAKE ACTION

Global warming impacts hurricanes, of course, but also tsunamis

From Dr. James Hansen, long a top climate scientist, formerly at NASA, now at Columbia University, in “Ex-NASA Scientist Dr. James Hansen: We Need to Act Now to Preserve Our Planet for Future Generations, Democracy Now!, 10/10/18, asked by Amy Goodman about the connection of global warming to Hurricane Michael and the recent tsunami in Indonesia:

“…when you add the human-caused increase in sea level to the tsunami, it makes it more damaging. That has been actually apparent on the recent hurricanes hitting the United States. The sea level—global average sea level has gone up by 20 centimeters because of greenhouse warming, which is about 8 inches, but along the coast, eastern coast, of the United States, it’s about twice as much. And when you add that sea level rise to the storm surges, it makes them that much worse.

“And, of course, the warming also increases the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere, increases the rainfall totals. And so, the global warming effect has been making hurricane effects significantly larger. There’s also a recent paper by James Kossin which argues that the speed, the translation speed of these storms, in many cases, has been slowed down, and that in the case of the Houston and the Carolinas hurricanes, they moved slowly, and so the rainfall totals were exceptionally large. And this is attributable—the slowing of the speed, in general, can be related to the global warming….”

read the full interview at Democracy Now!.

Add Your Name: Support a Green New Deal!

Sierra Club petition

A Green New Deal would put people to work in good union jobs, while enabling communities to invest in projects like removing lead from drinking water, retrofitting buildings to make them more efficient, and expanding our clean energy grid. These investments can play a critical role in fighting climate change and reducing racial and economic inequity by prioritizing benefits for working class families, communities of color, immigrants, and others who’ve borne the brunt of the fossil fuel economy.

Many states and cities already have a head start in adopting Green New Deal policies, creating momentum for national action! …

read more and sign petition: Sierra Club