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PennFuture Session Daze :: brief, informative, and interesting looks at public policy, especially in Pennsylvania PennFuture Session Daze :: brief, informative, and interesting looks at public policy, especially in Pennsylvania

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Community turned out to thank Rep. Phyllis Mundy

PennFuture supporters and the northeastern Pennsylvania community came out on October 2 to thank retiring Rep. Phyllis Mundy, D-Kingston, for her 12 terms of service and her conservation and environmental work throughout a career in public service. Rep. Mundy is retiring at the end of this legislative session and has served 13 communities in the heart of Luzerne County since 1990.
The reception at Vanderlyn's Restaurant in Kingston included highlights of Rep. Mundy's legislative work from Steve Stroman, state policy director. PennFuture staff was represented by Pam Fendrock, Kate Gibbons, Mike Helbing and Mark Szybist. Local environmental and non-profit groups and constituents and non-constituents alike chatted with Rep. Mundy and friends. State Representatives Eddie Day Pashinski and Karen Boback, and Congressman Matt Cartwright's District Manager, Bob Morgan, were among those who attended.  

We've had the opportunity to work with Rep. Mundy in Harrisburg and at home in her district as she's worked on issues confronting watersheds and the Susquehanna River, promoted public health and protected drinking water supplies from drilling, and worked for clean-up of mine-scarred lands across the district. Thank you to a legislative champion!

Kate Gibbons is northeastern Pennsylvania outreach coordinator for PennFuture and is based in Wilkes-Barre.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A citizen's guide to the legislative home stretch in Harrisburg

The 2013-2014 session of the Pennsylvania General Assembly is down to five scheduled legislative session days: October 6, 7, 8, 14 and 15.

It is possible that either the House or the Senate could return to Harrisburg to cast votes in a lame duck session after the November 4 election. However, statements from key Senate Republican and House Republican leaders suggest that such votes are unlikely.

There are scores of bills that could be voted and potentially sent to the governor during the remaining five days of session. These five days will be characterized by constant pressure from lobbyists and advocacy organizations, intense bargaining between House and Senate Republican leaders, and urgent calls from all quarters for bills to be voted given the slipping sands of legislative time. With polls showing Governor Tom Corbett consistently trailing challenger Tom Wolf, a potential change in administration is also casting a shadow over the end of the session and fueling an urgent need by some interests to move legislation.

While there is no guarantee that these five days will match the excitement and chaos of Tuesday night's Kansas City-Oakland playoff tilt, we're expecting our fair share of wild card drama over the coming fortnight.

We're also going to need citizens to be there with PennFuture in the days ahead, and not just in spirit or as spectators as it is critical that legislators hear from their constituents on several pressing pieces of environmental and energy legislation.

Here is a scorecard of some of the bills we're following:

House Bill 1565 would undermine the current requirements for riparian buffers that protect High Quality and Exceptional Value streams, Pennsylvania's best waters. Riparian buffers reduce flooding and stormwater runoff, improve water quality, decrease pollution, protect drinking water and improve habitat for fish and other wildlife.

HB 1565 moved through the House quickly in late September. It is now expected to be voted by the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee on October 6, and may be considered by the full Senate soon thereafter. PennFuture is working with a coalition of environmental, conservation and angling organizations to stop the bill.

House Bill 2354 would delay and harm Pennsylvania's ability to develop an effective plan to comply with the proposed U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Power Plan. The EPA plan would deliver significant carbon pollution reductions from power plants, help fight global warming, and improve public health, and represents an extraordinary opportunity to boost renewable energy and energy efficiency efforts in Pennsylvania and across America.

HB 2354 moved through the House quickly in late June. It is now expected to be voted by the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee on October 6, and may be considered by the full Senate soon thereafter. PennFuture is working with a coalition of environmental and public health organizations to stop the bill.

House Bill 343, sponsored by Rep. Ron Miller, R-York, would provide important and long overdue standards for private well-water construction that will protect human health and water resources. Over three million Pennsylvania residents rely on one million private water wells for their drinking water supply, with approximately 20,000 wells drilled annually. Only Michigan has a larger population served by private water supplies. Despite these facts, Pennsylvania remains one of two states lacking statewide regulations for private well construction.

The House passed HB 343 by a wide margin on June 27, but it remains to be seen whether the bill will be considered by the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee during its last voting meeting of the session on October 6.

House Bill 34, sponsored by Rep. Kate Harper, R-Montgomery, would require high-performance green building standards in most state-owned building construction projects. Passage of the bill would be a win for both the environment and Pennsylvania taxpayers as there would be substantial reduction in operating costs and energy and water use over the life of the buildings.

The House passed HB 34 by a wide margin in early 2013, but the bill has been stalled in the Senate. Attention may now be shifting in the waning days of the session to companion legislation sponsored by Senator John Rafferty, R-Montgomery.

Stay tuned. Take full advantage of the breaks between playoff innings and other activities. We're going to need your help.

Steve Stroman is state policy director for PennFuture and is based in Harrisburg. He tweets @SteveStroman1.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Recognizing a departing legislative champion

State Representative Phyllis Mundy, D-120, will retire at the end of this fall's legislative session after 12 terms representing part of Luzerne County. Mundy has been a strong defender of clean water, a champion of Pennsylvania's public lands, and a supporter of clean energy, and we're asking you to join us in showing our appreciation for the environmental and conservation work she's done on behalf of her constituents and all Pennsylvanians.

PennFuture will host a reception honoring Rep. Mundy on Thursday, October 2 in her district, led by our Wilkes-Barre staff and our state policy director. Hear from PennFuture staff as we highlight the representative’s achievements, enjoy light refreshments, and chat with Rep. Mundy and friends.

This casual event will be held in a restaurant housed in a repurposed historical structure that many decades ago was home to a toy factory.
Enjoy a light mix of hors d’oeuvres and wine, beer, and soft drinks. The reception is one of several PennFuture events this fall to recognize retiring legislative champions.

Thursday, October 2, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Vanderlyn's Restaurant
239 Schuyler Avenue, Kingston, PA

Tickets: $15.00

Please purchase tickets online in advance or call 570.208.1757.

Kate Gibbons is PennFuture's northeastern Pennsylvania outreach coordinator and is based in Wilkes-Barre.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Giving the public a say in public lands--show your support in Williamsport on July 28

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) is required by law to manage Pennsylvania's state forests and state parks as a trustee for all citizens of the Commonwealth including generations yet to come. DCNR is now making critical decisions on gas development in state parks and state forests, decisions that will have far-reaching and long-lasting impact on the ecological and recreational value of our public lands.

Unfortunately, as PennFuture and other members of the Save the Loyalsock Coalition have come to understand in our struggle to protect an extraordinary tract of the Loyalsock State Forest in Lycoming County, DCNR is not currently required to inform or engage the public in a meaningful way as it makes significant decisions on the future of our public lands.

On Monday, July 28, the House Democratic Policy Committee will hold a hearing in Williamsport on legislation sponsored by Representative Rick Mirabito, D-Lycoming, that will give citizens much greater input into these decisions. 

Please consider attending this important hearing as our public lands are under tremendous stress and threat from natural gas development. The hearing will run from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Lycoming College's Mary Lindsay Welch Honors Hall, located at East Fourth and Basin streets.

Representative Mirabito's House Bill 2318 will require much greater transparency and accountability on the part of DCNR by requiring the agency to provide public notice and seek public input before authorizing any major unconventional shale gas development on state forest lands. Specifically, HB 2318 requires:

  1. A public comment period
  2. At least one public hearing or meeting
  3. Access for the public during the comment period to proposed development plans
  4. That DCNR share with the public during the comment period the agency's analysis of the potential impacts of the proposed gas development on ecological, wildlife, recreational, cultural and aesthetic resources
The hearing agenda includes testimony from:
  • Robert Cross, Responsible Drilling Alliance
  • Mark Szybist, PennFuture
  • Joanne Kilgour, Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter
  • John Childe, Jr., public interest attorney
  • Harry Campbell, Chesapeake Bay Foundation
  • Paul Zeph, Audubon Pennsylvania
  • Cust Ashenfelter, Keystone Trails Association
Officials from DCNR and the drilling industry declined invitations to testify and provide their input.

The public lands of Penn's Woods urgently need our help. Please consider attending this hearing.

Steve Stroman is policy director for PennFuture and is based in Harrisburg.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Celebrating a conservation hero, discussing his impact

On Monday, July 14, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will present the Ralph W. Abele Conservation Heritage Award, the agency's highest conservation honor, to former legislator Franklin Kury. The award is in recognition of Kury's "lasting conservation impact as the author and champion of  Article 1, Section 27, of the Pennsylvania Constitution, also known as the Environmental Rights Amendment.

The event will also feature a discussion on the significance of Article 1, Section 27. Peter Duncan, former secretary of the Department of Environmental Resources and former executive director of the Pennsylvania Game Commission, will moderate the discussion. This session will include a taped interview with John Dernbach, Distinguished Professor of Law at Widener University.

Kury served as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1968 to 1972, and as a member of the Pennsylvania Senate from 1972 to 1980. In addition to his leadership in enacting the Environmental Rights Amendment, Kury played a lead role in the passage of the Flood Plain and Storm Water Management Acts, the State Scenic Rivers Act, and numerous other environmental and conservation laws.

In its December 19, 2013, decision in Robinson Township v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court breathed new life into Article 1, Section 27, as it overturned key parts of the state's new unconventional natural gas drilling law commonly known as Act 13. Chief Justice Ronald Castille articulated a new framework in Robinson for evaluating government decisions under Article 1, Section 27, including the government's exercise of its public trust powers relating to the environmental impact of its actions on present and future generations.

The July 14 event is open to the public and doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the 7:00 p.m. event.

Steve Stroman is policy director for PennFuture and is based in Harrisburg. He tweets @SteveStroman1.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

June 2 committee hearing to examine Corbett public lands leasing proposal

Governor Tom Corbett's proposed 2014-15 fiscal year budget relies on $75 million from new leasing of Pennsylvania state parks and state forests for gas drilling. This proposal follows the terrible precedent set during the Rendell administration of balancing the state budget on the back of damage to our public lands.

Meanwhile, Governor Corbett and the General Assembly refuse to pass a severance or drilling tax for Pennsylvania as is the case in every other major natural gas producing state. Instead, the Act 13 impact fee passed in 2012 translates to one of the lowest effective tax rates in the country, leaving hundreds of millions of dollars on the table.

On Monday, June 2, the House Democratic Policy Committee will critically examine the leasing proposal at a public hearing entitled, "Drilling on Public Lands to Balance the Budget." The hearing is being organized by Rep. Greg Vitali, D-Delaware, minority chair of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee. It will start at 10:00 a.m. in Room 418 Main Capitol.

Panelists at the hearing will include:

Kudos to Rep. Vitali and Policy Committee Chair Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, for bringing attention to this critical issue that should greatly concern anyone who cares about the future of Penn's Woods.

The next six weeks before the passage of the budget around June 30 will be critical in the effort to prevent further leasing of our public lands. Citizen activism will be essential to blocking the Corbett proposal.  

Steve Stroman is policy director for PennFuture and is based in Harrisburg.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

PennFuture Questionnaire: Gubernatorial Candidates' Responses

Tuesday, May 20 is Primary Election Day in Pennsylvania. We invited gubernatorial candidates to share their views on issues related to the environment, energy, and the economy. Gov. Corbett was invited but did not respond. We thank the candidates for their participation.

1) What are your views on climate change and what should Pennsylvania do to reduce carbon emissions? 

Paul Glover
As global warming accelerates, Pennsylvania’s transition must sharpen. Without aggressive energy efficiency there is no national defense, no real community development nor personal success. Thus, complete rebuilding of our cities and farms during the next 100 years, toward balance with nature, should be Pennsylvania’s foremost definition of progress, and will be the top priority of my administration. Green building and energy efficiency are the essential foundations of a  healthy economy. We can gradually cut reliance on fossil fuels by 80%.

Solar cities, schools, and suburbs should receive incentives for passive solar construction and retrofit, attached greenhouses and atria, heat grabbers, sun tubes, etc. Funding will be sparked by regional stock exchanges dedicated to eco-development. Current dependence on centralized utilities drag us into the past, financially and environmentally. While we focus on efficient retrofits, steam cogeneration should get sharp fuel rate discounts. Geothermal and wind should be welcomed into the smart grid as well, and net metering should welcome these small generators. Mountaintop removal should end. Transport of coal slurry should end.

Further, I would shift the State’s budget from road building to rail and transit. The era of the automobile, whether gasoline or electric, must gracefully fade, as we build for proximity rather than speed. A penny-per-gallon gas tax paves this route. In like manner, I’d shift the State’s subsidies from oil-soaked agribusiness to instead stimulate regional farms, especially CSAs that are organic and GMO-free. I’d encourage urban greenhousing and permaculture (I’m founder of the Philadelphia Orchard Project). Planting millions of trees in cities will greatly reduce carbon emissions, by cooling urban heat islands and cutting air conditioning loads. As well, import replacement programs will stimulate regional manufacture of green products, decreasing our dependence on global imports while creating jobs.

Perhaps most challenging, I’d encourage a shift from our consumer culture to a creative culture. Success and the good life might be better defined as preparing a legacy of beautiful cities, rather than mountains of trash. Many of us want big change, but few of us want to be changed. Therefore proposed policy changes must promise both immediate and long-range benefits. They must be safe. They must be stylish. They must be fun. Those who invest must be celebrated for redirecting investments. Those who love shopping must have green products. Those afraid of sharing must be assured of control. A Green governor would nominate like-minded experts to the PUC.

I've taught urban studies (Metropolitan Ecology) at Temple University, and written the article "Beyond LEED," which proposes stronger LEED standards. I'm author of "Ithaca Power," a comprehensive energy survey of that region (1988), which received a grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism

Rob McCord
Pennsylvania has a leadership role to play in preventing it because the state produces about 1% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, but there has been a failure of leadership with Gov. Corbett’s administration on this issue. We need to recognize that the impact of climate change is real, and that it is apparent today. It affects our economy, environment, and public health.

Beyond the moral mandate to address this challenge, as an institutional investor, I view climate changes as a threat to business performance and risk evaluation, too. The United States is seeing more so-called “billion-dollar weather disasters” in a typical year, and some estimate the cumulative cost of changes to our physical environment, health and food security could be $2 trillion to $4 trillion by 2030.

We need to be more proactive about addressing climate change. We need to invest in renewable and lower carbon-emitting forms of energy (including natural gas, but we must crack down on fugitive methane emissions because it is a far more potent greenhouse gas). We need emphasize energy efficiency and conservation in our built environment, and we need to think about smarter land use planning and strategies to make our communities more sustainable. Further, the business community needs to properly account for its impact on the environment and on the risk climate change has to its long-term performance. Acknowledging these threats and risks can go a long way toward raising awareness of the issue and spurring action.

Katie McGinty
The Corbett administration was 18 months late releasing a mandated Pennsylvania Climate Impacts Assessment Update. That report, which details what impact future climate change may have on the state, was released only after public outcry and criticism over the delays. This is unacceptable.

Taking on the issue of climate change presents a great opportunity to grow our economy in a clean and efficient way. In a McGinty Administration, Pennsylvania would be a leader in building a sustainable economy and we would significantly cut greenhouse gas and other pollution by putting people to work on renewable energy and energy efficiency, by green buildings and mass transit. And, I'd make it a priority that Pennsylvania become the home to as many companies making the products and equipment and offering the services that will solve the climate challenge and create good jobs.

Allyson Schwartz
I believe that addressing climate change is both a moral and economic imperative, and Pennsylvania has a responsibility to act. Despite our tremendous assets in renewable energy, we produce more carbon emissions than 47 other states. Pennsylvania must become a national leader in the clean energy economy.

Nine states – Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont – have stepped up and joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the nation’s first market-based program to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. RGGI has generated an estimated $1.6 billion in economic benefit for the nine-state region, created thousands of jobs, and cut electric bills.

Governor Corbett has ignored the pressing issue of climate change. His refusal to join our neighboring states in this vital and commonsense initiative is unacceptable. As governor, I will push to have Pennsylvania join RGGI, which will help the Commonwealth transition to a clean energy economy, create new economic opportunities, and demonstrate that Pennsylvania is serious about becoming a national leader in environmental protection. I will also promote green-building standards and other measures to reduce carbon emissions.

Tom Wolf

I know we need to remove the politics from the discussion about climate change and global warming. We need to take action so that future generations have access to fresh air and clean water, and have the opportunity to explore and enjoy Pennsylvania's natural beauty.

As governor, I will promote policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote clean energy alternatives, and invest in green energy technology and infrastructure. Additionally, I will appoint qualified individuals to lead the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources who will be responsible for proactively addressing climate change and promoting policies that are in the best interest of current and future residents -- not special interests.

This includes issuing a Climate Change Action plan that is released on time, is based on science, and includes meaningful emission reduction targets and policies to help meet these goals. I know how important this report is to ensuring that future generations have a healthy and clean Pennsylvania – I will make sure the Climate Change Action plan is a priority. You can read more about my plan here:

2) How does protection and promotion of public health and the environment factor into your decisions about energy and economic development?

Paul Glover

Economic expansion which damages the health of humans, animals, plants, soil, water and air is not progress but decay. Real economic development therefore celebrates and rewards the contributions to a healthy economy made by environmentalists and green energy businesses. During the past 30 years I’ve taken several initiatives to model this change. Green energy is a priority investment in my plans for the Philadelphia Regional & Independent Stock Exchange (PRAISE), which would gather capital of all kinds for regional eco-development. I’ve reported for “Ethical Markets.”

I'm a former teacher of Green Jobs at Temple University, and author of the book “Deep Green Jobs.” I’m former editor of Green Jobs Philly News, a monthly collage of Philadelphia’s green economy. These feature green energy innovations. I’m founder of Ithaca HOURS local currency, a regional business association (500 participating businesses) which has traded millions of dollars value while promoting green enterprise.

Making the explicit connection between health care, earth care, and the economy, I’m founder of the Ithaca Health Alliance and author of the book “Health Democracy.” Here are excerpts from my 1998 Health Advocacy preamble, which refers to climate change:

FRESH AIR Eighty percent of our bodies' daily intake, by weight, is air. Thus quality of air anchors health. Health Alliances favor zoning that brings work, play, shopping and school close together so that walking, biking and transit can replace automobiles. We favor energy efficiency, to reduce air pollution.
CLEAN WATER Our bodies are 90% water, so we're as healthy as the water we drink. Health Alliances thus favor water conservation, xeriscaping, green industry, reduced consumerism, sewerage reform, greater reliance on organic vegetarian diets, all of which reduce waste and contamination.
STABLE SOCIETY Peace is healthy; war is unhealthy. Peace depends on fair distribution of political power and wealth; population control; respect for cultural, religious and ethnic diversity. Health Alliances will advocate against war and for peace.
HEALTHY PLANET All the health needs above are based on the vitality of the Earth. Destruction of the ozone layer, forests and species; coupled with climate change, are injuries no doctor can mend.

Rob McCord
Too many people think that protecting the environment and public health and growing our economy are “either-or” propositions. They don’t have to be. We can have both. There are tens – if not hundreds – of thousands of jobs to be gained in clean energy development, natural resource protection, energy efficiency and conservation, brownfield remediation and development, and a host of other areas. There are also jobs in research and development that can lead to new technologies that help us to improve air and water quality, develop and use energy more efficiently, and address the other challenges of our time. We need to invest in this kind of work.

Ultimately, we can do a far better job of building sustainable communities for a more sustainable future. Doing so will make Pennsylvania a more vibrant and attractive place to live, but these benefits cannot accrue only to the more affluent corners of our state. We must also be guided by a commitment to fairness. My administration will be committed to environmental justice. Too often, poor or economically depressed regions are made to suffer a disproportionate share of the environmental threats. People in these areas may be enticed by the promise of employment in the short-term while giving little consideration to the long-term implications on their health.

I want to be a governor who gives a voice to the voiceless and who is always guided by sound science in policy-making and implementation so that we are not sacrificing our future quality of life – and intentionally or unintentionally creating future challenges – for the sake of near-term gain.

Katie McGinty
Sustainability should be at the heart of everything we do: inventing new approaches and technologies that protect the environment while we grow the economy. I’ve spent my entire career working to show that solving environmental problems is an opportunity for innovation and job creation. As chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality under President Clinton, senior advisor on environmental matters to Senator and Vice-President Al Gore, and head of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection under Governor Ed Rendell --- I have the track record that proves we can put people to work as we clean up and protect the environment. That is why I am endorsed by national environmental leaders including Mr. Gore and Robert Kennedy Jr.

I believe that we must turn our environmental challenges into opportunities that create jobs. That means promoting clean energy like wind and solar as tools to protect the environment while creating jobs for Pennsylvanians. I strongly support expanding opportunities in clean energy so we can create jobs while protecting the environment. When I served as DEP Secretary, Pennsylvania was a leader in clean energy jobs and she will once again make us a leader in wind and solar once again. As Governor, I will enforce tough regulations that hold energy producers accountable and protect our air and water.

Allyson Schwartz
Economic growth and a cleaner environment go hand in hand. To grow in the 21st century, Pennsylvania must embrace the transition to clean energy. That’s why, in Congress, I supported a historic $90 billion federal investment in clean energy. As a member of the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means and a senior member of the House Committee on the Budget, I pushed to shift billions in subsidies for the oil and gas industry to renewable energy and energy conservation technologies.

Increasing the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS) – see more below -- will attract clean energy developers to Pennsylvania. Renewable energy creates more jobs per megawatt than coal, and increasing the AEPS could bring thousands more jobs to the Commonwealth.

Increasing renewable energy in Pennsylvania by expanding the AEPS will provide long-term energy price certainty at a reasonable cost. According to a study by PJM, Pennsylvania’s grid operator, expanding the AEPS would lower wholesale electricity prices, reducing the cost to ratepayers.

Tom Wolf
I believe that public health and environmental impact should be a major consideration in any policy decision. That is one of the reasons I know we need to take the politics out of these discussions and focus on the science. We need to make informed decisions and have a clear understanding of the possible consequences. As mentioned above, I will appoint qualified individuals to lead the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources who will put the welfare of residents and the environment above special interests. 

Additionally, I will work to enact policies that bring greater transparency to the fracking process so that we can protect residents and our environment. I will close the loopholes in Act 13 and require all drillers to publicly disclose chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process, and I will lift the current gag order on physicians. Further, I will implement practical regulatory actions and increase funding for the Department of Environmental Protection so that it is sufficiently staffed and able to provide proper oversight of drillers. 

Lastly, I will use our development of natural gas as a bridge to a clean energy future. As governor, I will work to make Pennsylvania a national leader in the development of clean, renewable energy sources that support the health and well being of both residents and the environment. I do not believe that we need to choose between a booming energy sector and the health of our residents and our environment. As governor, it will be my mission to implement policies that allow us to have both.

3) Describe your plan for meeting Pennsylvania’s energy needs.

Paul Glover

My main aim would be to set Pennsylvania on the long path to durable abundance without fossil fuels or nuclear power. To do this, I’d give top budget priority, as I said above, to residential and business energy efficiency (especially insulation and passive solar); incentives for solar, wind and low-head hydro electric; rail and transit, bike paths, regional manufacture (especially of insulation). We need to reduce hurdles and fees for interconnection and net metering.

Reduced throwaway consumerism will dramatically decrease our dependence on fossil fuels, by retaining money in-state. Every Pennsylvania dollar not lost to global utilities multiplies our ability to create green jobs doing the above, and the following. So I’d shift the State budget's $2.6  billion fossil fuel subsidies toward solar, wind, green construction and green schools. I’d encourage municipal electric distribution. I’d restore high tax incentives for residential solar and wind.

I’ve written the article “Beyond LEED,” which introduces stronger LEED metrics. I endorse strong PACE standards. I’d push thermostats with motion sensors, green roofs, solar atria, sun tubes, HVAC monitoring, CFLs, Energy Star everything, including computers. My book "Green Jobs Philly” describes how these more decentralized technologies lower the costs of living in lower-income neighborhoods.

Rob McCord
As an investor and entrepreneur, I know the importance of diversifying assets in order to hedge long-term risk. We need to be doing the same with our energy portfolio. We can’t – and shouldn’t – be disproportionately favoring one resource over another. That’s a recipe for disaster when prices for that one favored resource spike or supplies dry up.

We need a diversified energy portfolio, and that will be my focus as governor. I want this state to be a clean energy leader, so I will invest in renewables like wind, solar, hydro and geothermal. I want to see Pennsylvania be on the forefront of energy efficiency and conservation – not just for new construction, but for our existing built environment as well.

At the same time, I want us to be smarter about how we develop and use our vast fossil fuel resources. Both coal and natural gas will continue to constitute a large majority share of our energy mix for years to come. I want to be sure we’re using those resources as efficiently as possible and that we minimize the environmental impacts by curbing emissions, protecting water quality, and properly managing waste. Part of my jobs plan includes a $1 billion “Power Up Pennsylvania” initiative to invest in the commonwealth’s energy economy and infrastructure, including everything from the development of clean and renewable forms of energy to building out Pennsylvania’s natural gas delivery systems, helping more homes, motorists, businesses, and manufacturers take advantage of this affordable, lower-carbon source of home-grown energy. The plan also invests in energy efficiency and conservation, green buildings, and it provides incentives for aging and dirtier coal plants to convert to natural gas, which can greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions while protecting jobs.

Katie McGinty
Pennsylvania can and should be a world leader in developing clean and efficient energy. It’s time to make Pennsylvania the hotbed of energy innovation—where we can build a new industrial cluster to satisfy the world’s need for clean, efficient energy that is less costly to consumers and businesses. If we do this, we will create good-paying jobs and improve the lives of hard-working families.

Creating jobs and improving the lives of hard-working families will be top priorities as governor. As governor, I will propose and promote energy policies to make Pennsylvania a leader in developing clean renewable energy. I believe that with world-class universities, a highly trained work force, and unparalleled natural resources, Pennsylvania should be leading the way in developing wind, solar, biomass and other clean, advanced energy sources. To make energy less costly for consumers and businesses, I will also lead the effort to make Pennsylvania more energy efficient and energy independent.

To create jobs by developing clean efficient energy, I propose the following:
  • Expand the state’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS) to require utilities to include renewable, alternative, and advanced energy sources in their portfolios. Enacted when I was head of DEP, the AEPS spurred investment, generated jobs, and gave a boost to local economies. For example, under my leadership at the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Pennsylvania became a national leader in creating wind and solar jobs. She led a campaign to lure the Spanish wind-energy company Gamesa to Pennsylvania, beating out other states. Gamesa has invested more than $200 million in Pennsylvania, employed hundreds and built a local supply base.
  • Expand Act 129, the successful conservation law in Pennsylvania that has saved consumers hundreds of millions of dollars and created hundreds of jobs. Developed by me, while DEP Secretary and passed by the legislature, Act 129 is estimated to have cut electricity bills by nearly $300 million per year while spurring the creation of up to 600 full-time jobs in energy engineering, contracting, and installment. 
  • Boost the competitiveness of Pennsylvania's manufacturers by putting industrial waste heat and power to work at the plant in combined heat and power systems.
  • Recognize that the electric grid is a vital part of our core infrastructure that needs to be upgraded. Support investments to ensure grid reliability and integrity.
  • Lighten the load on the grid and empower consumers through distributed generation, microgrids, and smart power systems

Allyson Schwartz
Our portfolio of energy sources must significantly expand our use of wind, solar, hydro, and other alternative sources. As governor, I will aggressively enhance Pennsylvania’s AEPS to require that utilities obtain 30 percent of their electricity from clean, Tier I renewable resources by 2030. I will set an interim requirement to double the Tier I requirement to 15 percent by 2021, and will strengthen the solar energy carve-out.  My bold “30 by 30” plan will bring good-paying jobs and economic development to Pennsylvania while reducing the harmful carbon emissions that cause climate change.

As a State Senator, I co-introduced the groundbreaking 2004 bill to create Pennsylvania’s original AEPS, which required Pennsylvania to obtain 8 percent of its energy from renewable sources and an additional 10 percent of its energy from other alternative fuel sources by 2021. The AEPS has successfully encouraged the development of clean energy and created thousands of good-paying green jobs.

Since 2004, however, other states have increased their renewable energy standards, and the Commonwealth is falling behind. New Jersey, for example, has become a national leader in solar energy by setting an aggressive renewable standard: 17.88 percent renewable energy by 2021 with an additional 4.1 percent from solar by 2028.

Without a stronger AEPS, Pennsylvania’s clean energy jobs are at risk. According to the Solar Foundation, Pennsylvania has lost 1,100 solar jobs since 2012, in large part due to the low solar requirement in the current AEPS. I am determined to seize this opportunity to protect and expand clean energy job opportunities, reduce  carbon emissions, and make the Commonwealth a national leader in renewable energy once again.

Tom Wolf
With Pennsylvania sitting on one of the largest deposits of natural gas in the world, I believe that the Marcellus Shale must be a key component of any energy plan for Pennsylvania's future. We must ensure that we take advantage of this resource and opportunity in a way that benefits all Pennsylvanians and protects our water and environment.

As stated above, I believe that natural gas extraction must be a bridge to a clean energy future. As governor, I will use a portion of the revenue generated from a 5 percent tax on natural gas to invest in the development of a renewable, clean energy sector.

I will target existing workforce and education funds toward the development of a public/private green jobs training program so that we have the workforce needed to expand and increase our use of renewable energy sources; work to implement public/private partnerships to expand our infrastructure for alternative fuel vehicles; promote and incentivize sustainable development practices for both public and private projects; use existing Commonwealth economic development tools to target renewable energy technologies and businesses; and form a task force to recommend additional ways we can promote the use of renewable energy.

4) Other states have adopted strong regulations to reduce fugitive methane emissions associated with natural gas development. What is your view on the importance of controlling methane emissions from natural gas development, and what would you do as governor, if anything, to reduce methane emissions?

Paul Glover

Methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Hydrofracking is already damaging Pennsylvania’s water, homes and roads, through methane releases into water and air. An estimated five percent of well casings are expected to fail soon after installation. Even “properly” managed wells spread fumes. With 100,000 wells projected, we would need not only an army of field monitors but an army of incorruptible monitors backed by a DEP with courage and teeth. It will be impossible to tax fracking enough to offset the permanent damage to water, health, communities and businesses. Wells are already exploding, containment pits are leaking, and trains are derailing. Thus, a West Virginia-style catastrophe looms.

I am the only candidate for governor of Pennsylvania who would ban hydrofracking. A moratorium on fracking is merely a stay of execution. Anything less than a ban is irresponsible. Mere regulation of fracking is not mature compromise, but capitulation to greed.

Therefore, wherever current drilling contracts can’t be broken, prohibitive remediation bonds should be imposed. We should make criminally liable the chief executive of any company whose wells leak, and we should close those wells. We should ban inter-county and interstate transport of fracking fluids. We should end pipeline extension, particularly for export facilities. We should encourage township bans. I would nominate PUC commissioners who agree.

Rob McCord
Natural gas offers a lot of environmental benefits for electricity generation over coal, but those benefits are mitigated if the industry doesn't control fugitive emissions from the well pad or any other point along the development and transmission infrastructure. My natural gas plan specifically requires drillers to use the best technologies and practices to not only prevent methane emissions, but also to reduce emissions of other air pollutants, track and recycle wastewater, and ban flaring.

I worry that because of relatively low natural gas prices, companies do not feel they have the financial incentive to prevent emissions. While that will change as prices eventually rise, we cannot afford to wait. We also shouldn't wait to start being smarter about how we use natural gas. Persistently low gas prices also create little incentive for developers, utilities, or consumers to conserve this fuel. I want to expand energy efficiency and conservation programs under Act 129 to natural gas. More than half of all Pennsylvania homes use natural gas for heat. These consumers could be realizing tremendous savings if Pennsylvania would join the more than one dozen other states that have instituted natural gas efficiency standards.

Katie McGinty
I believe, first and foremost, that we must continue to support and push for real-time additional research on the issue. We must look at this issue from a broad spectrum including ALL of the sources associated with fugitive methane emissions. It is then critical and our responsibility to put in place a comprehensive plan to address this important issue. From cost-effective measures to monitoring and regulating, members of my administration, along with stakeholders from across the state and various industries will be tasked with providing a roadmap to reduce these emissions. In my energy plan released earlier this year, I pledged to call for the implementation of best practices to minimize the environmental footprint associated with gas development, including but not limited to: develop and enforce appropriate casing and cementing practices in well development to guard against methane migration when elected Governor.

Allyson Schwartz
Controlling methane leaks at well pads and in natural gas transmission is vitally important to our communities and to slowing climate change.

As governor, I will order a comprehensive review of Pennsylvania’s existing safeguards to ensure that Pennsylvania has the strongest possible protections to prevent methane leaks, reduce air and water pollution, and ensure sound well-drilling and construction standards. I will enact the strongest possible protections, based on the best science, to reduce air pollution, limit methane leakage, and protect drinking water.

Tom Wolf
Pennsylvania is a major emitter of greenhouse gas, and I know we need to adopt stricter regulations and support innovative tools for reducing our emissions, especially as the natural gas sector continues to grow. As governor, I will work with key stakeholders to set new testing and monitoring regulations, and I will work with the private sector to promote the development of new technology that quickly and effectively detects fugitive methane emissions.

Additionally, I will focus on reducing our overall greenhouse gas emissions by having Pennsylvania join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. I will work with the initiative and the member states to set emission caps that are fair to Pennsylvania, and I will use a portion of the revenue generated from the sale of permits to invest in renewable energy technology.

5) In June, EPA will announce a proposed standard under the Clean Air Act (the 111(d) rule for existing sources of carbon emissions) to limit carbon dioxide from existing power plants. The Commonwealth will be required to develop a state-specific plan to obtain the carbon reductions established by the federal standard. What policies would you propose Pennsylvania incorporate into its plan?

Paul Glover

Power plants are Pennsylvania’s greatest sources of carbon dioxide release. No new coal plants should be built; nor any further oil, gas, biomass or nuclear plants. Existing plants with low heat rate performance would be expected to optimize combustion, replace turbine blades, precombust. Energy efficiency must outpace the retirement rates of existing conventional power plants.

While demand side management is the greatest priority, carbon capture through integrated gasification combined cycle technologies, and enhanced oil recovery, immediately reduce CO2 emissions. Power plant owners should have discretion to choose how they would achieve required emission reductions. Transparent reporting and independent monitoring are essential.

We should end trash incineration, and export of trash for incineration, because trash-to-energy CO2 emissions are worse than coal, while trash burning produces dioxins that cause birth defects and cancer. Deconstruction of buildings and re-use of materials rather than demolition should be encouraged.

We should expect lower-emitting plants to provide more base load, regardless of spot price. We should establish baseline measurements that include all sources, but not permit carbon trading credits that reduce the phasing out of fossil fuel plants. This closes a significant carbon pollution loophole.

We must surpass federal regulations with natural gas plants as well. We cannot allow conversions from coal to natural gas in the name of clean energy, since fracked gas GHG emissions are far worse than coal, when leakage from pipelines and compressor stations is counted. Methane leakage from gas drilling is far greater than EPA estimates.

Special attention to utility-generated pollution is needed in low-income communities and communities of color, where contamination is typically most hazardous. Our state should exceed federal standards, and prohibit coal gasification in these areas. I would appoint members to PUC with proven loyalty to these themes.

Rob McCord

I will first want to assess the EPA’s model rule for all states, but my inclination is to believe that we’ll be able to achieve more ambitious reduction requirements if we develop a state-specific plan. If so, I will want to ensure that our plan is realistic, measurable, and verifiable.

The two cornerstones of my approach will be to increase the Tier I clean energy share of the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act and to boost the efficiency and conservation goals of Act 129. Additionally, I want to work with existing generators to ensure they are maximizing their capacity and operating as efficiently as possible. Each of these steps could go a long way towards reducing our carbon emissions and addressing the dangers of climate change.

Katie McGinty
I worked on the re-authorization of the landmark Clean Air Act, and with that work was asked to join the staff of Senator Gore to advise him on the various technology and environmental issues before the U.S. Senate and we learned that tackling climate change will take a mix of old and new technologies plus the old-fashioned work ethic.

Solving the climate crisis isn't about some wondrous new technology or impossible to imagine inventions. It is about building and installing efficient boilers and ballasts and buildings. It is about bolting solar panels on roofs and hanging them on street lamps and utility poles. It is about steel towers in the ground with wind turbines on top. It is about cars charged with the new "lead carbon" super-batteries being made right here at home, right now. And it is about capturing carbon from our coal plants and using it to enrich the soil, even as we stop it from polluting the air. I am proud of the work I did in Pennsylvania to protect the air we breathe and as Governor will work to further limit and reduce carbon dioxide from existing power plants.

Allyson Schwartz
As governor,  I will write a state plan and fully implement carbon-dioxide standards. As I have said, I will have Pennsylvania join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Tom Wolf
I believe any comprehensive plan aimed at meaningfully reducing Pennsylvania’s carbon emissions should include a thorough review of current policies as well as recommendations from key stakeholders. I am committed to producing a state plan that is based on science and includes meaningful tools for strategically reducing emissions.

As stated above, I am in favor of having Pennsylvania join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and I believe we need to invest in a clean energy future – both of which will help us reduce our emissions and shift our energy reliance to renewable energy sources.

6) What is your view of the role energy efficiency and conservation should play in meeting Pennsylvania’s energy needs?

Paul Glover

Reduced fuel demand through efficiency tops my agenda. Energy efficiency is our state’s key to healthy people, healthy economy, healthy future. The best fuel, ultimately, is no fuel.

Decades from now, no housing will be affordable, nor any business sustainable, unless passive solar. Such buildings have proven to reduce fuel needs to near zero, even in cold climates. Thus solar construction, both passive and active, should be fast tracked and rewarded. I would expand AEPS and push for a range of green building incentives, both grants and interest-free loans. I support Pennsave's Energy Performance Contracting. The Uniform Construction Code should  be updated biannually to embrace the most aggressively energy efficient methods and technologies. My appointments to the UCC Review and Advisory Council will match this aim. Deconstruction and re-use of building materials should be preferred to demolition. I will convene a Green Building Commission. Appointees will be chosen from among those proving lifelong dedication to green themes, having no connection to fossil fuel industries.

As Governor, I’d support requiring high-performance building standards for all school buildings that are newly constructed or undergoing major renovation. Among these standards should be green roofs and schoolyards, solar atria, sun tubes, HVAC monitoring, CFLs, Energy Star everything (including computers). But again, passive solar is key, to fully fund public schools. I would seek federal grants and interest-free loans (such as Qualified Zone Academy Bonds). At the same time, green curricula are needed, to teach the skills of neighborhood management.

I’ve drafted plans for the Philadelphia Insulation Factory (PIF), which would convert newspapers into cellulose insulation, employing low-income neighbors to manufacture and install, gaining reduced utility bills. See graph at 1828.198734353655201&type=1&theater

Rob McCord
The cheapest and cleanest form of energy is that which we don’t use. That fact, plus the reality that buildings account for approximately 40% of total energy use and carbon emissions, have made me a firm believer in the importance of energy efficiency and conservation.

I am proud of the smart investments we’ve made during my time as treasurer to promote energy efficiency and create good-paying, green collar jobs. The innovations we’ve made to the Keystone Home Energy Loan Program have made it a national model for how to partner with the private sector in order to finance smart, money- and energy-saving residential improvements. The program has saved homeowners millions of dollars and created hundreds of jobs for contractors who do this type of retrofit work.

Last year, Treasury sold thousands of Keystone HELP loans to a consortium of banks in order to recapitalize the program. The move received national attention as it was believed to be the first sale of its kind, and industry experts viewed it as a critical step in making low-cost capital readily available to finance greater residential energy conservation improvements across the country.

This is the kind of forward-thinking, innovative approach to financing sound policy that I intend to deliver as governor. Additionally, I intend to increase the targets of Pennsylvania’s energy efficiency law, Act 129, and, I will champion the use of energy savings performance contracts for building improvements. Lastly, I intend to push for long-overdue updates to Pennsylvania’s building codes. Newer codes contain safer standards and more aggressive energy efficiency measures. Pennsylvania’s reluctance to adopt the 2012 codes not only threatens the safety of residential and commercial buildings, but also makes it less likely buildings will take advantage of cost-saving energy efficiency measures. Unless we have a governor who is willing to support the 2015 codes, we may not have another chance until 2018, at which time our codes will be nearly a decade out of date.

Katie McGinty
Helping to pass our alternative energy law was among my most proud achievements as Secretary of DEP. We developed and drove forward the portfolio legislation as well as unprecedented new financial resources for green energy. We also developed the legislation that became Act 129 that was a national model in energy efficiency, requiring smart meters and empowering the consumer to drive down consumption and save money. 3000 new and good jobs came to our state on account of these efforts and, as Governor, I will make it a priority to have Pennsylvania back in the lead in this vital area once again.

To create jobs by developing clean efficient energy and conservation, I have proposed:
  • Expand the state’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS) to require utilities to include renewable, alternative, and advanced energy sources in their portfolios. Enacted when Katie was head of DEP, the AEPS spurred investment, generated jobs, and gave a boost to local economies. For example, under Katie’s leadership at the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Pennsylvania became a national leader in creating wind and solar jobs. She led a campaign to lure the Spanish wind-energy company Gamesa to Pennsylvania, beating out other states. Gamesa has invested more than $200 million in Pennsylvania, employed hundreds and built a local supply base.
  • Expand Act 129, the successful conservation law in Pennsylvania that has saved consumers hundreds of millions of dollars and created hundreds of jobs. Developed by Katie while DEP Secretary and passed by the legislature, Act 129 is estimated to have cut electricity bills by nearly $300 million per year while spurring the creation of up to 600 full-time jobs in energy engineering, contracting, and installment. 
  • Boost the competitiveness of Pennsylvania's manufacturers by putting industrial waste heat and power to work at the plant in combined heat and power systems.
  • Recognize that the electric grid is a vital part of our core infrastructure that needs to be upgraded. Support investments to ensure grid reliability and integrity.
  • Lighten the load on the grid and empower consumers through distributed generation, microgrids, and smart power systems

Allyson Schwartz
They play a big role. I will strengthen Act 129, which requires Pennsylvania electric distribution companies to conserve electricity. The first phase of Act 129 generated nearly $300 million in annual savings for Pennsylvanians.  I will also promote green building standards and will use revenue from a severance tax on natural gas drilling to fund energy efficiency upgrades.

Tom Wolf
I know we need to be focused on building a clean energy future. I believe the Commonwealth can lead this development by promoting energy efficiency and conservation policies. As governor, I will:

  • Promote legislation requiring the State to meet green building standards on all state-­‐owned new building projects larger than 20,000 square feet, building projects in which a state agency is leasing at least 90 percent of the square footage, and renovations of state-­‐owned or leased buildings that are larger than 20,000 square feet or at least 90 percent occupied by a state agency.
  • Support legislation that encourages energy efficient retrofits of existing commercial and residential buildings using market forces and incentives to capture energy and water conservation savings from retrofits.
  • Target existing workforce and education funds toward the development of a public/private green jobs training program so that we have the workforce needed to expand our use of renewable energy sources and increase the development of sustainable, green buildings.
  • Reinvest in the Green Building Products initiative and encourage collaboration between institutions of higher education and private business so that we can accelerate the commercialization of new, innovative products.
  • Expand innovative approaches to addressing stormwater management, like Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters plan, Pittsburgh’s Green Infrastructure Network, and the work being done in Lancaster, that focus on the development of green infrastructure.
  • Launch a Growing Greener III initiative so we can continue to preserve farmland and encourage production practices that preserve Pennsylvania’s natural resources.