Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative: Public Testimonies

How RGGI and Pennsylvania’s Carbon Budget Program work to reduce carbon pollutants that contribute to climate change:

  • RGGI is a multi-state, market-driven program for CO2 emissions from the electric power sector, implemented by a bipartisan group of governors.  It stretches across 10 states from Maine to Maryland, with Virginia and Pennsylvania now getting on board.
  • Under RGGI, the participating states agree on a regional limit on the carbon pollution that power plants can emit. Each state creates its own program for implementing the agreement.
  • Large carbon-emitting power plants purchase allowances equal to their CO2 emissions and can buy, sell, or trade carbon allowances within the overall cap.

In other words, power plants must pay for the dirty carbon pollution they cause, so they have an incentive to lower their emissions. If power plants reduce their emissions below their allowance, they can bank those allowances for use in the future, or sell allowances to other power plants, which creates more incentive for power plants to invest in ways to reduce their carbon emissions further.

The purchase of the allowances generates funds – as high as $300 million in a year – that could be used to support energy efficiency and renewable energy to further reduce air pollution in the state, and to help low-income consumers as well as communities that are transitioning away from fossil fuels.

PA IPL members, faith leaders, and advocates of climate justice from across the state have already taken a stance and testified, written in our local papers, and signed petitions.

Read the public testimonies of PA IPL’s Executive Director and advocates of climate justice. As we receive more testimonies, we will continue adding them to our website. If you or anyone you know would like to submit their public testimony, please email us.

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

Last week opened the Department of Environmental Protection public hearing regarding the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Myself and several other PA IPL members, faith leaders, and advocates of climate justice from across the state stood up and spoke out in favor of the proposed regulation for the CO2 Budget Trading Program. You can find more information about RGGI at this Environmental Defense Fund website post.

If you testified and are willing to share your testimony with our network please email us!

You can find the testimony from PA IPL’s Executive Director here.

If you know or would like to contact any local or state elected officials this petition is still being circulated by Clear Power PA Coalition.  If you have questions or need help speaking with elected officials please email us or PA IPL friend and ally, Joy Bergey.

Proverbs 22:3 Are we simpletons?

On July 10, several Pennsylvania religious leaders traveled to Washington DC to offer in-person testimony to the EPA regarding delay of implementation of New Source Performance Standards for Methane emissions from oil and gas operations.  EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505Daniel Swartz at EPA

Good afternoon.  I am Rabbi Daniel Swartz of Temple Hesed of Scranton.  I’m also Board President of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light, which works with congregations and people of faith across Pennsylvania to address the moral dimensions of climate change.  In addition, I have a background in children’s environmental health, including serving for several years on EPA’s Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee.

The Book of Proverbs gives us blunt advice about how to distinguish between wise and foolish decisions.  In Proverbs 22:3, we read: “the prudent see danger and take cover, but the simpleton keeps going and pays the penalty.”  In the case of the new source rule we are discussing today, we know that there is danger.  We know the solution, one that has already been applied under multiple state-level standards and has been shown to be both practical and affordable. To simply keep going, to put off taking cover by delaying the implementation of this rule, is, by this biblical standard, clearly foolish.

And worse than foolish.  EPA has officially stated that the health and safety risk posed by any delay “may have a disproportionate effect on children.”  To recognize that and yet still call for delay is not just foolish but immoral.

Since 1995, all of EPA regulations and rules are supposed to take into account that children aren’t just little adults when it comes to environmental health and safety.  Their developing Continue reading Proverbs 22:3 Are we simpletons?

Catholic Social Teachings: methane, morality, and delay

Sister Mary Elizabeth ClarkOn July 10, several Pennsylvania religious leaders traveled to Washington DC to offer in-person testimony to the EPA regarding delay of implementation of New Source Performance Standards for Methane emissions from oil and gas operations.  EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505

My name is Sister Mary Elizabeth Clark, a Sister of St. Joseph of Philadelphia, special assistant for sustainability to the President of Chestnut Hill College. I am also an Ambassador of the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Catholic Climate Covenant. Speaking from a faith perspective and the moral imperative of doing no harm to God’s creation, I support what Pope Francis has said in his call to us all, “Whenever human beings fail to live up to environmental responsibility, whenever we fail to care for creation and for our brothers and sisters, the way is opened to destruction and hearts are hardened.  “Let us be protectors of creation.”

The tradition of Catholic social teaching offers a developing and distinctive perspective on environmental issues. We believe that the following themes drawn from the Catholic Social Justice tradition are integral dimensions of ecological responsibility:

  • A consistent respect for human life which extends to respect for all creation;
  • A world view affirming the ethical significance of global interdependence and the common good.

When considering the regulation of emissions of methane gas, which is Continue reading Catholic Social Teachings: methane, morality, and delay

Shareholders, stakeholders, and the Common Good

On July 10, several Pennsylvania religious leaders traveled to Washington DC to offer in-person testimony to the EPA regarding delay of implementation of New Source Performance Standards for Methane emissions from oil and gas operations.  EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505

Sr. Nora Nash at EPA (1)

I am Sr. Nora Nash of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia. I thank you for the opportunity to publicly recommend that the EPA implement the methane New Source Standards without delay.

I represent my congregation, a community of over four hundred Franciscan women, whose charism calls us to be strong proponents of climate justice, care for creation, and sustainability. I also speak for the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, and the Investor Environmental Health Network — two organizations who continue to have positive interaction with corporations on their social and environmental responsibilities and policies. Members work with corporations to build a more just and sustainable world by integrating social and environmental values into investor actions. We accept our moral responsibility to protect our environment, speak for the human rights of communities, human health and the over-all “common good” of society.

As responsible shareholders and stakeholders, we have consistently engaged major oil and gas companies on the need for monitoring and disclosure of methane leakage, on the grounds that what “gets measured gets managed.” Many of these companies have already established performance standards and Continue reading Shareholders, stakeholders, and the Common Good

Mom’s values and methane

Joy at EPAOn July 10, several Pennsylvania religious leaders traveled to Washington DC to offer in-person testimony to the EPA regarding delay of implementation of New Source Performance Standards for Methane emissions from oil and gas operations.  EPA-HQ-OAR-2010-0505

My name is Joy Bergey, and I testify today as the director of the Environmental Justice Center at Chestnut Hill United Church. We are based in Philadelphia, PA.

As I was preparing this testimony, I heard clearly in my mind the life lessons my mother taught me decades ago:

  • Clean up after yourself.
  •  Spend your money wisely.
  • Leave things better than you found them.
  •  Don’t procrastinate.
  • And most of all, always be fair.

These simple messages embody our testimony on delaying the proposed rule.

Let’s start with the most important: Always be fair. This is at the heart of our work at the Environmental Justice Center. We are particularly concerned about environmental racism, which occurs when communities of color are hurt disproportionately by pollution. That’s not fair, or just.

Refusing to regulate methane pollution exacerbates climate change. And this hurts first and worst our most vulnerable populations: the very young, the very old, those living in poverty, those in fragile health, and almost invariably, communities of color.

In Philadelphia, the asthma rate is 21.5 percent, more than twice the national average[1]. In the Continue reading Mom’s values and methane