Category Archives: Energy

Cut carbon emissions to save our health, planet

Letter in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Oct 22, 2019. Richard Whiteford and World Information Transfer are affiliated with CCEA.

Last November, both the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports said humanity has 12 years to cut carbon emission in half and to zero by 2045 or it is highly possible that humans may not survive the ravishes of climate change. These reports were compiled by over 2,000 peer reviewed climatologists from over 160 nations.

Despite this, Pennsylvania’s Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee scheduled a hearing to pass legislation to protect coal-fired power plants, the most polluting and CO2 emitting power source in existence, from a proposed carbon tax.

Heading this effort is Sen. Gene Yaw, R-Lycoming, supported by Reps. James Struzzi, R-Indiana, Donna Oberlander, R-Clarion, and Pam Snyder D-Green. Rep. Daryl Metcalf, R-Butler, is holding a House hearing on the same issue Oct. 28.

Their efforts, if successful, will increase CO2 emissions. Are they blind to the health care cost from burning coal, the cost of extreme storm damage from floods caused by a heating atmosphere (2017 was the worst on record costing Pennsylvania $163.5 million) or the economic benefits of the 90,772 clean energy jobs created in Pennsylvania in 2019?

Mr. Yaw pays lip service to clean energy but is working very hard to kill it behind the scenes. They whip out the same old saw that cutting fossil fuels will kill jobs, hurt the economy and disrupt our energy supply. Well, not if they strongly supported clean energy and gave it more incentives than given to the fossil industry.

What kind of moral ethics, or lack thereof, allow them to sacrifice the futures of our children to an uninhabitable planet to keep the dirty fossil industry alive? How old will your children be in 2045?

RICHARD WHITEFORD, Downingtown, Pa.
The writer is a climate change consultant and educator and a board member of the World Information Transfer.

Another terrible idea: SB 790

Naturally the fossil fuel industry wants to find a cheap way to get rid of its drilling water — the chemically contaminated and radioactive waste water that emerges from underground during the process or drilling for gas and oil.

And the industry has come up with spreading their waste product on dirt roads. What could possibly go wrong? Read one woman’s tale of what could and did go wrong at PennEnvironment.

The PA DEP was forced to put a moratorium on the procedure but now a bill is before the General Assembly to legalize it, along with other handouts to industry at the expense of public health and taxpayers.

To sign on to a letter protesting the bill, see here.

How much fossil fuel is your bank financing?

A report from BankTrack shows the amount various banks have lent to fossil fuel industries over the past few years. No wonder the frackers won’t go away! Download the report here.

A recent video The Easiest Change You Can Make | In Depth recommends people switch to credit unions, which help local people rather than global polluters.

Excerpt from the BankTrack web site:

Banking on Climate Change 2019 is the tenth annual fossil fuel report card and the first ever analysis of funding from the world’s major private banks for the fossil fuel sector as a whole.
 
Expanded in scope, the report adds up lending and underwriting to 1,800 companies across the coal, oil and gas sectors globally over the past three years. The report also tracks fossil fuel expansion by aggregating data on which banks are financing the 100 companies most aggressively expanding fossil fuels.
 
Banking on Climate Change 2019 reveals that the four biggest global bankers of fossil fuels are all U.S. banks – JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citi and Bank of America. Barclays of England, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) of Japan and RBC of Canada are also massive funders in this sector.  Notably, JPMorgan Chase is by far the worst banker of fossil fuels and fossil fuel expansion – and therefore the world’s worst banker of climate change. Since the Paris Agreement, JPMorgan Chase has provided $196 billion in finance for fossil fuels, 10% of all fossil fuel finance from the 33 major global banks.
 
JPMorgan’s volume of finance for fossil fuels 2016-2018 is a shocking 29% higher than the second placed bank, Wells Fargo. The bank stands out even more from its peers in its volume of financing for the top companies expanding fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure: since the Paris climate agreement, JPMorgan Chase’s $67 billion in finance for the expanders is fully 68% higher than that of Citi, in distant second place.
 
With Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs in 11th and 12th places respectively in the fossil fuel financing league table, all of the big six U.S. banking giants are in the top dirty dozen bankers of climate change. Together, U.S. banks account for 37% of all global fossil fuel financing. Collectively, the U.S. banks are the biggest source of funding for fossil fuel expansion since the Paris Agreement was adopted…

Apply by Oct. 18 to Chester County Environmental and Energy Advisory Board

UPDATE to our Sept. 17 post: “Resumes and cover letters from people who are interested in being considered for a position on the Board… can be sent to Deputy County Administrator Kara Rahn at krahn@chesco.org by Friday, October 18, 2019.”

Chester County has just set up a Chester County Environmental and Energy Advisory Board to make recommendations to the County, municipalities, the public, and businesses. The official description is below. The County will soon be taking steps to secure the needed 22 members. Citizens are entitled to 4 of the 22 seats.

The other 18 members are: 7 officials ex officio; 4 representatives of businesses; 2 each of land conservancies and utility companies; and 1 each of 3 other associations. When application and selection guidelines are published, we will know whether the organizations in each category will basically select the members, or recommend candidates to the Commissioners, or neither. Let’s hope that the Board will rapidly stimulate actual badly-needed changes in policy and practice.

COUNTY OF CHESTER ENVIRONMENTAL AND ENERGY ADVISORY BOARD

Purpose: The purpose of the Chester County Environmental and Energy Advisory Board is to provide recommendations to the Board of Commissioners, applicable County departments, municipalities, citizens, and businesses by:

Recommending best environmental and energy practices in the areas of buildings, facilities and operations; fuels, vehicles, and transportation; food; responsible purchasing; housing; energy sources; air quality; stormwater management; natural resource protection; and climate change.

Identifying environmental and energy policies the County has adopted and recommending ways to promote and educate about Chester County’s environmental and energy initiatives.

Identifying and recommending voluntary actions, projects, and programs for municipalities, businesses, non-profits, and other partners to implement county environmental and energy policies.

Reviewing and providing input into a Climate Action Plan.

Recommending environmental and energy related actions, projects, and programs to the Board of Commissioners for implementation

Membership: The membership of the Chester County Environmental and Energy Advisory Board shall be appointed by the Chester County Board of Commissioners and shall be selected so as to represent the citizens, businesses, and the County. The Membership of the Advisory Board shall include:

Four Chester County citizens

Four Chester County business representatives

One representative of Chester County Economic Development Council’s Smart Energy Initiative (SEI)

One representative of Chester County Association of Township Officials

One representative of Chester County Municipal Managers Consortium

Two representatives of Chester County’s land conservancies

Two representatives of Utility companies serving Chester County

Executive Director of Chester County Planning Commission

Executive Director of Chester County Water Resources Authority

Chester County Director of Open Space, Parks and Trails

Chester County Director of Emergency Services

Director of Chester County Conservation District

Director of Chester County Facilities Management

Director of Chester County Health Department

The Chairman of the Chester County Environmental and Energy Advisory Board may appoint experts to the Board, as necessary, however those appointed experts shall not have a vote.

Vacancies shall be filled by the Chester County Board of Commissioners. County staff board seats will be ex-officio members.

Terms: The term of each of the members of the board shall be two years, except that, when the board is first created, half of the members shall be appointed for three years and half for two years.

CCL’s Danny Richter talks about H.R. 763 on NPR’s 1A

email from Citizens’ Climate Lobby, 10/9/19

The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act got some major media exposure recently when it was the topic of conversation on the NPR show 1A. CCL VP for Government Affairs Danny Richter was among a panel of guests talking about carbon pricing. He said the thing that sets H.R. 763 apart is the steep rate of increase for the carbon fee and the fact that revenue is returned to households.

Why has this bill gained traction? Danny said CCL worked outside the Beltway, “educating people in [nearly all] districts and teaching them about this policy… then they’ve been going back to the Beltway and building support there. So the key for us has been to go outside of the Beltway.”

Listen to Danny’s interview on 1A and share the program on social media.

Otten introduces plan to amend Pa. constitution for local self-government

[Why is this important for environment and sustainability? The US says states can’t protect themselves (e.g., by setting their own gas mileage standards) and the state says counties and municipalities can’t protect themselves (e.g., by regulating petroleum products pipelines). It’s time for municipalities to take back the right to work for the health, safety and welfare of their own residents. If the state of Pennsylvania cannot adequately implement its own constitution’s environmental rights amendment, then the levels of government closer to the grassroots need to do the job.]

Rep. Danielle Friel Otten, October 3, 2019 | 5:13 PM

Area officials support efforts

EXTON, Oct. 3 – State Rep. Danielle Friel Otten, D-Chester, today announced a proposal for an amendment to the Pennsylvania constitution.

Otten’s amendment, H.B. 1813, would allow municipal governments to enact laws protecting the health and safety of their communities without interference from corporations or pre-emption by the state or federal government.

“Today, I stood with local elected officials and members of our community to announce a proposal for an amendment to the Pennsylvania constitution that would recognize the fundamental right of the people to local self-government and place the rights of citizens over the interests of private corporations,” Otten said. “Under current law in Pennsylvania, corporations can sue state and federal governments to override community attempts to protect themselves from projects with the potential to cause great personal or environmental harm. It is time we correct that failure.”

Otten was joined by Uwchlan Township Supervisor Bill Miller, West Chester Mayor Dianne Herrin, community organizer and Downingtown Area School Board director Rebecca Britton, PA Community Rights Network President Malinda Harnish Clatterbuck and a volunteer leader with the Pennsylvania chapter of Moms Demand Action, Erin Buchner.

Miller noted the current inability of townships to regulate the proliferation of cellular towers, the presence of guns in local parks or the sale of fireworks within township borders.

Uwchlan Township Supervisor Mayme Baumann also expressed support for the proposed amendment, stating, “Pennsylvania is a diverse patchwork of rural townships, suburban areas, small towns, and cities. This amendment would help us create a government that better reflects the values of our communities and gives municipalities the ability to protect their residents’ health, safety and natural resources.”

Britton discussed the importance of the legislation for communities living with pipeline construction, noting that “we the people can no longer protect our property as guaranteed us by the Pennsylvania constitution, because a private entity is shipping off our natural resources for plastics production, and in turn has put our private property at risk.”

Buchner commented on the need for the amendment as it relates to gun safety.

“Pre-emption laws override commonsense. In Pennsylvania, the state legislature has prohibited guns in the state Capitol and on state properties, while at the same time it pre-empts local governments from restricting guns in municipal buildings or in any city or town hall.”

Herrin described the ways that pre-emption ties her hands as a mayor on issues including gun safety, environmental initiatives, and taxing authority.

“We have a $20 million unfunded pension liability in West Chester because we have a large police force,” Herrin said. “I can’t protect my constituents from carrying the tax burden because the state will not allow us to generate revenue in any other way than through three very limited taxing authorities.”

Harnish Clatterbuck discussed the impact when a pipeline project called Atlantic Sunrise came through her Lancaster County community.

“We discovered that a company in Oklahoma had more power to do on our property what they wanted than we had the right to stop them. We were overruled by the regulatory agencies and by pre-emption, which has allowed our elected officials in Harrisburg and Washington to violate the health and safety of the people they have been elected to represent.”

For more information, those interested can call Otten’s office at 484-200-8259.

Chester County Clean Energy Tour

Don’t miss it: Saturday, October 19, 2019, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Did you know Chester County is a state leader in solar energy and energy efficiency? Across the County, 20.88 MW are produced in 839 Installations (#2 in PA). Join us for a tour of exemplary clean energy projects at our schools, universities, businesses, farms, non-profits, municipalities and homes. Be inspired at this FREE event that features self-guided tours and open house tours across the County.

The logos to the left show sponsors of the Chesco tour. There will be more! Note that Chester County’s topic for the day is much broader than the national solar theme.

Kick-off events will provide an orientation and suggested route. The homes, businesses, and public places you visit will demonstrate green technologies such as solar, wind, geothermal, green design, energy efficiency, electric vehicles and more. Learn how your home, workplace, local schools and municipal facilities can be part of the transition to cleaner, safer renewable energy.

Register to attend the tour here.

Be part of the largest national renewable energy event ever and be one of the many forward-thinking hosts or participants from across the country!

The tour is coordinated by Solar United Neighbors and the American Solar Energy Society, with help from Chester County Ready for 100% Renewable. See more about the nationwide National Solar tour here.