Tag Archives: EPA

Why are carbon standards important?

PA IPL’s written testimony to the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.splash

Docket Number: EPA-HQ-OA-2017-0190
originating from Executive Order 13777

The EPA came about as a result of fully bipartisan legislation that still had strong bipartisan support years later when it was renewed. That legislation, the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act grew out of experiences across the country, including a tragic and seminal case from our Commonwealth of Pennsylvania – the Donora Smog of 1948 in which 20 people were killed directly during the incident, 700 were rendered critically ill, 50 died within a month, and mortality rates even a decade later were well ahead of nearby communities. U.S. Steel never accepted responsibility, and payouts to the injured and widowed covered little more than legal expenses.   In this country, we know that this is not right.

It is true that sometimes regulations cost corporations some money, and yet we are a people that understands that there are moral standards, moral limits. We limited child labor, no matter how plentiful and nimble the very young might be, and how much more expensive it might be to pay adults to do honest work. We understand that is the right thing to do, and so we do it.

Similarly, we know that we cannot allow industries to use our Common Home in ways that trample the green pastures on which we all feed, or muddy the waters from which we all drink. [Ezekiel 34:18].   Unfortunately, we have also learned that the drumbeat of profit can be deafening, and balance sheets blinding, and so we must, as a people, agree upon standards, limits to poor behavior.

EPA regulations are not promulgated willy-nilly. In fact, they are created over time, in consultation with stakeholders, and with public comment Continue reading

Comment Period: Clean Energy Incentive Program

The Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP) description.Watch for articles in local papers as openings for responsive Letters to the Editor.

On June 16, 2016 the EPA announced an incentive plan of early action credits for energy efficiency and zero-emitting renewable energy generation, with double credits for work in low income communities.   The in-person hearings were in Chicago this summer, and the comment period has just been extended to November 1.  PA IPL is always glad to see work in environmental justice communities recognized and prioritized. We are always concerned about the potential for “hot spots” under any allowances program.

It is worth knowing that states can only claim these credits once they have submitted a state plan under the Clean Power Plan (CPP), so PA will be missing credits opportunities every day that we delay.  Credits or allowances can be a problem for some kinds of emissions.  Locally-acting toxics (such as mercury) can create emissions hotspots in environmental justice (EJ) areas, so we checked in with people who study energy and toxics policy. Because the CPP regulates carbon emissions which are a harm to all, but are not an immediate local harm, this kind of hot-spot issue is less of a concern here — particularly because this incentive program will not create new coal plants. The CEIP does have the potential to get us moving much faster, which is vital — especially for the poor and vulnerable. In the best case, incentivizing early action would also shift markets to favor more and faster zero-emissions action, and that would speed coal plant retirements generally.

Sign IPL’s letter to EPA Administrator McCarthy supporting the CEIP, or submit comments of your own (DEADLINE: November 1, 2016).

Read the press release from IPL national.

Scroll down for a reprint of the letter from the policy director of Faith in Place (home of Illinois IPL), following the CEIP hearings in Chicago:

As the policy director of Faith in Place, the Illinois affiliate of Interfaith Power & Light, I’ve seen how the fossil fuel industry harms the people of Illinois. From high rates of asthma, cancer, and heart disease in communities near coal-fired power plants to the flooding, heatwaves, and wildfires affecting people from Louisiana to California, it’s clear that the health and safety of all people are jeopardized by our continued dependence on dirty fossil fuels.

That’s why I’m asking you to support Clean Energy Justice.

At a packed EPA hearing in Chicago this month, I joined with dozens of other clergy and people of faith to call on the EPA to strengthen its plan for clean energy, and to expand renewable energy and energy efficiency in economically challenged communities. But we need your help to amplify our efforts.

The EPA is accepting public comments on their proposed Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP). Part of the Clean Power Plan, the CEIP is a “matching fund” program that helps states invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that are implemented in disadvantaged communities. It helps states meet their Clean Power Plan goals while encouraging access to clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency programs.
Let the EPA know you support this program. Click here to send an email to them today.

Economically challenged communities are disproportionately affected by climate change impacts, and must be prioritized in discussions for climate solutions.

As people of faith, we are called to care for the Earth and also to work for environmental justice.

Here in Illinois, our Interfaith Power & Light affiliate works in many of the communities most impacted by pollution from power plants. In Chicago we are seeing the human face of power plant pollution, from asthma to cancer to heart disease. We have a moral obligation to prioritize the benefits of the Clean Power Plan to these communities first.

And we know there is no time to waste if we want to avoid the worst impacts of global warming.

The faith voice needs to be heard: Please join me in urging the EPA to swiftly adopt the CEIP and expand renewable energy – starting with the communities that need it most.

Rev. Vance Booker; Faith in PlaceIn faith,
Rev. Booker Steven Vance, Policy Director
Faith in Place, the Illinois affiliate of Interfaith Power & Light

Methane Testimony: Dan Scheid

IMG_1844I want to thank the EPA for proposing this standard on methane emissions, which is crucial to slow climate change, to improve public health, and to protect our children’s future. I also thank you for inviting public discussion on this issue: it is not a special interest or partisan issue, but is of vital concern to every person now living on the planet, and especially to every resident of Pennsylvania and to every American.

I speak today not only as a resident of Pittsburgh but also as a person of faith, as a Catholic who is inspired by the recent visit of Pope Francis. As some of you may know, Pope Francis issued a major document called Laudato Si’ in June of this year. In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis continues the Catholic Church’s longstanding teaching on climate change, affirming that it is real, that it is a moral issue, and that prudence demands immediate and urgent action.

The encyclical follows a familiar format for Catholic teaching: See-Judge-Act. The first element is to see what is happening, to rely on the “best scientific research available” (§11) today. And science is telling us that methane pollution persists for decades; that Continue reading

Press Conference: Sister Donna

Prior to delivering her testimony at the EPA hearing, Sister Donna Zwigart participated in a press conference with several others.  

My name is Sister Donna Zwigart, a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities whose WPA regional house is in Millvale, PA.

I want to thank you, our media representatives for taking time to hear us today as we Continue reading

Methane Testimony: Joy Bergey

JoyBergeyMy name is Joy Bergey, and I speak in my role as Director of the Environmental Justice Center of Chestnut Hill United Church. Based in Philadelphia, the Center is an inter-religious program working with congregations and individuals to address problems of environmental injustice.

The Environmental Justice Center thanks the EPA for proposing this rule. We urge that it be implemented quickly and not weakened in any way. In fact, we urge that it be strengthened.

I traveled to Pittsburgh from the city that just hosted His Holiness Pope Francis over the weekend.

Given the deeply inspiring message of the Pope, can there be doubt in anyone’s mind at this point that taking strong national action to limit climate change pollution is an urgent moral imperative?

Every major faith tradition calls on its followers to protect those at the margins of society who cannot defend themselves: the young, the old, the sick, the poor. And it is exactly these persons who are being hurt first and worst by climate change.

With no national standards in place to address methane from oil and gas wells, and with the Continue reading

Methane Testimony: Rev. Amy Reumann


amyMy name is Pastor Amy Reumann and I am the director of Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania (LAMPa). LAMPa serves the 1300 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America congregations in the Commonwealth through shaping faith-rooted advocacy on issues that impact the health and well-being of our neighbors. Thank you for the opportunity to speak today in support of the proposed methane emissions reductions and to underscore the urgency of their implementation on behalf of God’s creation and for the common good.

As Lutheran Christians, we understand that we are called to protect the earth and to Continue reading