Pennsylvania Solutions for Pollutions Launch Event

This September, the Climate Action Campaign (CAC) is joining with dozens of coalition partners to launch the Solutions for Pollution (S4P) campaign demanding that agencies across the federal government set the strongest possible standards to deliver solutions for pollution.

The “Solutions for Pollution” campaign (S4P) will call on the Biden administration to carry out its responsibilities under our nation’s bedrock environmental laws, such as the Clean Air Act, by advancing approximately 20 protections across federal agencies that could cut climate pollution in half by 2030, advance vital public health and environmental justice goals, accelerate the transition to clean energy, and create new economic opportunity.

Sign up here or just show up!

EPA Heavy-Duty Rule State Sign-On Letter to Senators

Sign on by FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 by close of business.

September X, 2022

Dear Senator:

On behalf of our millions of supporters, we write in response to the letter submitted on July 11, 2022, addressing EPA’s proposed rule on “Control of Air Pollution From New Motor Vehicles: Heavy-Duty Engine and Vehicles Standards” (Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-QAR-2019-0055). The letter expressed reservations about EPA’s proposed Option 1. We wish to assuage those concerns and emphasize why EPA’s final rule should strengthen and exceed Option 1.

The Importance of a Strengthened Option 1

EPA must finalize the strongest possible rule to address climate and air pollution impacts caused by heavy-duty trucks. Heavy-duty vehicles make up 10 percent of U.S. on-road vehicles, but contribute 45 percent of the transportation sector’s nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution, 57 percent of its fine particulate matter (PM) pollution, and 28 percent of the sector’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. 40 percent of U.S. ports and other freight facilities are in areas failing to meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone and particulate matter. This is concerning, as 72 million people live within 200 meters of a truck freight route, and are disproportionately people of color and lower income. A stringent Option 1 would create significant public health and environmental impacts needed.

EPA’s proposed Option 1 builds on the success of the Low-NOx Heavy Duty Omnibus (HDO) rule, which has already been adopted by California, Oregon, and Massachusetts, and is under consideration in other states. This option would implement NOx standards in two steps, starting in 2027 and align with some state actions after an additional step up in stringency in 2031. Under Option 1, the expectation is that by 2031, NOx standards would be 90 percent lower than today’s standards. EPA estimates this would achieve a 60 percent reduction in harmful NOx emissions, compared to the weaker Option 2 only achieving 47 percent reduction. Finalizing an enhanced version of Option 1 that occurs on a condensed timeline is critical for freight-impacted communities, given the urgency of the issue.

Need to Take a Consensus-based Approach

Under the Clean Air Act, EPA is required to set “standards which reflect the greatest degree of emission reduction achievable through the application of technology which the Administrator determines will be available for the model year to which such standards apply.” It also requires the agency to give “appropriate consideration” to costs and other factors. Following three days of public hearings and a public comment period on this proposal, diverse stakeholders have demonstrated overwhelming support for EPA to at a minimum adopt Option 1, if not a more stringent final rule. These stakeholders included health advocates, community groups, scientists, the business community, emission control manufacturers, state and local elected officials, and even engine manufacturers.

Feasibility of the Standards

Option 1 does not require reinventing emission control systems for internal combustion engines according to extensive multi-year research, testing, and stakeholder engagement from California regulators which concluded meeting a 0.02 g/bhp-hr NOx standard by 2027 is feasible and cost-effective. In addition, Ford, a major truck manufacturer, publicly stated they can meet the standard. Manufacturers of Emission Controls Association (MECA) also publicly affirmed Option 1’s feasibility. Meanwhile, other manufacturers are acquiring emission control companies capable of meeting the stronger state standards. A strengthened Option 1 also includes compliance flexibilities to ensure manufacturers are able to meet the standard, incentivize ZEV deployment, and maximize emission reductions.

Unintended Consequences: Diversion of Investment and Labor Concerns

Meeting stringent combustion engine pollution standards and deploying ZEVs are not mutually exclusive, yet there are manufacturers fighting strong standards to “avoid a diversion of investment” from electrification efforts, while publicly announcing advances in zero-emissions technology and significant investments in truck charging networks. In addition, significant investments are available to support them from the recently passed Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Manufacturers have cited concerns on costs, pointing to an unverifiable survey conducted with inflated projections and an industry-funded report lacking peer review. In contrast, the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), MECA, and EPA, have published lab testing-backed cost projections that are significantly less than the industry survey.

Industry also argues that these standards come at a cost, causing fleet managers to stock up on older truck models before the new standard comes into effect (“pre-buy”), resulting in a decrease in sales after the standard begins (“no-buy” or “low-buy”). A small group of manufacturers claim these standards will result in job cuts like previous heavy-duty emission standards. However, EPA issued a report in 2021 concluding that larger economic forces–not emissions standards–have been primary drivers of past declines in heavy-duty truck sales, and showed how critics conflate correlation with causation. 

Conclusion

EPA must quickly and effectively address greenhouse gas and air pollution from heavy-duty trucks, and the best way to achieve this is by strengthening Option 1. We hope to have your support and we look forward to continuing discussions on the best pathways to reduce emissions in affected communities and growing manufacturing jobs in this sector.

Signed,
Your Name

Reconciliation Package Must include Strong Manufacturing Measures

Great news! Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light has joined other organization across the state for a sign on regarding the passing of a bold reconciliation package that will help rebuild our manufacturing sector in ways that will deeply reduce emissions while building domestic supply chains and creating and protecting good union jobs for workers and disadvantaged communities.

Serious action is required to address climate change and strengthen the U.S. economy for all. The following provisions must be included in any negotiations around budget reconciliation as well as future climate infrastructure packages to ensure that the Appalachian region can create a thriving manufacturing renaissance in the region.  We deserve it.

Appalachia can and should be a leader in the global economic race to modernize domestic manufacturing.

Several provisions key to building this future include:

  • Key investments to reduce climate pollution in emissions-intensive industries—such as cement, steel, and aluminum. We can reduce these emissions at scale by funding industrial efficiency measures and emissions reduction technology as well as broader supply chain programs.
  • Spurring domestic clean technology manufacturing through measures such as $25 billion in funding for 48C together along with new supply chain production tax credits that expand clean energy and technology manufacturing and onshore key supply chains.
  • Strong funding to strengthen the domestic automotive supply chain, protect workers and communities, and build the electric vehicle (EV) fleet of the future in Appalachia. This includes new funding for the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program and manufacturing conversion grants—together enabling over $20B in investments to retool automotive manufacturing to build the EV technology of the future in existing plants and communities.
  • Support Manufacturing Supply Chains and Manufacturing-Centered Economic Development. In addition to investments that support clean technology manufacturing expansion and retooling directly, it is also critical to ensure that we expand and fund the broader programs that provide the economic, technical, and workforce infrastructure and support to strengthen advanced manufacturing ecosystems and communities.
  • Ensure that clean energy deployment tax credits include labor and domestic content standards and support the retention and growth of domestic manufacturing and high-quality jobs.

These provisions would make a historic investment in the expansion and retooling of domestic clean energy, vehicle and component manufacturing, the transformation of our industrial sector to reduce emissions and enhance competitiveness, as well as the necessary efforts to build out robust supply chains for critical clean technologies—all while building family sustaining careers and investing in the communities that need it most.

Any reconciliation package should advance a sustainable economic vision for a 21st century Appalachia—one that is good for working people, communities, the environment and our health. Our communities have many assets, but a sustainable economic future can’t be achieved without significant public investment, strong policies, and responsible economic development approaches designed to maximize the benefit to the community as a whole.

You can read more and sign on here.


UPDATE ON JUNE 6, 2022:

You can see the final letter here.

Now Available: Video of Philly IPL Chapter’s March 8th Program!

Philadelphia’s Community Health Act Will Address Environmental Injustice

Any plans to address climate change and shift our economy to clean energy must consider the impacts that burning fossil fuels and production of other industrial pollutants have had on the health and well-being of Philadelphians. Policies must redress this environmental injustice. The March meeting of PA IPL’s Philadelphia Chapter addresses this topic. Our guest, Andres Celin, Outreach Director for City Councilmember Helen Gym, discusses the proposed Community Health Act and the impact it could have addressing pollution and health threats in urban communities.

Andres Celin Bio:
Andres Celin has spent a decade working in education, youth development, social services, and community organizing in the Latino community in North Philadelphia. He is currently the Outreach Director for City Councilmember Helen Gym and is a Certified Trauma-informed Trainer/Practitioner with Lakeside Global Institute. Prior to his current role, Andres was the Lead Organizer at Youth United for Change, where he worked to develop the political leadership of young people in Kensington. He has a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from Haverford College, and a Master in Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania.

Community Health Act Description:
Councilmember Gym has introduced legislation aimed at redressing the environmental injustices suffered by Black and Brown communities historically overburdened by pollution. The Community Health Act would require the identification and mapping of ‘environmental justice communities’ based on past, present, and future pollution, environmental stressors, health vulnerabilities, and demographic factors. Any permits for industrial use in or near these communities would require the City to conduct a “cumulative impact assessment” that looks at the actual impact of pollution in context before granting an approval — and empower the City to require mitigating steps to prevent harm.

***

The Philadelphia chapter of PA IPL is very active. Chapter volunteers plan workshops, services, and work in coalition with many other groups bringing faith voices to climate justice and clean energy transition efforts, and they bring climate justice voices to faith work. Their monthly meetings are on the second Tuesday of the month at 7:00 PM, and are open to everyone. Particular meetings may focus either on planning or on a particular program.

Philadelphia PA IPL Local Chapter Meeting – March 2022

This month’s meeting will be held on March 8th:
Philadelphia’s Community Health Act Will Address Environmental Injustice
REGISTER HERE

Any plans to address climate change and shift our economy to clean energy must consider the impacts that burning fossil fuels and production of other industrial pollutants have had on the health and well-being of Philadelphians. Policies must redress this environmental injustice. The March meeting of PA IPL’s Philadelphia Chapter will address this topic. Our guest, Andres Celin, Outreach Director for City Councilmember Helen Gym, will discuss the proposed Community Health Act and the impact it could have addressing pollution and health threats in urban communities. Please join us for this timely and important discussion.

Andres Celin Bio:
Andres Celin has spent a decade working in education, youth development, social services, and community organizing in the Latino community in North Philadelphia. He is currently the Outreach Director for City Councilmember Helen Gym and is a Certified Trauma-informed Trainer/Practitioner with Lakeside Global Institute. Prior to his current role, Andres was the Lead Organizer at Youth United for Change, where he worked to develop the political leadership of young people in Kensington. He has a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from Haverford College, and a Master in Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania.

Community Health Act Description:
Councilmember Gym has introduced legislation aimed at redressing the environmental injustices suffered by Black and Brown communities historically overburdened by pollution. The Community Health Act would require the identification and mapping of ‘environmental justice communities’ based on past, present, and future pollution, environmental stressors, health vulnerabilities, and demographic factors.  Any permits for industrial use in or near these communities would require the City to conduct a “cumulative impact assessment” that looks at the actual impact of pollution in context before granting an approval — and empower the City to require mitigating steps to prevent harm.


The Philadelphia chapter of PA IPL is very active. Chapter volunteers plan workshops, services, and work in coalition with many other groups bringing faith voices to climate justice and clean energy transition efforts, and they bring climate justice voices to faith work. Their monthly meetings are on the second Tuesday of the month at 7:00 PM, and are open to everyone. Particular meetings may focus either on planning or on a particular program.

Now Available: Video of February 9 Meeting in Partnership with JEA!

Methane Emissions and Our Health with PA IPL & JEA

This meeting, recorded Wednesday, February 9, 2022, was part of PA IPL’s ongoing partnership with Jewish Earth Alliance (JEA).

TOPIC:
Methane Emissions & Our Health

Our inspirational spiritual remarks are given by PA IPL Director David Heayn-Menendez.

Then speaker Vanessa Lynch, M.Ed., Field Organizer for Pennsylvania Moms Clean Air Force, discusses methane, its dangerous effects on our health, and why we must reduce emissions.