“Gov. Wolf’s final state budget address was a look back at his tenure in office. For Pennsylvania’s sustainable economy and its countless communities beset by pollution, it’s been a daily grind, defined by increasingly vitriolic debate in Harrisburg around environmental protection and conservation,” said PennFuture President and CEO Jacquelyn Bonomo.
That’s why, after seven years, PennFuture is pleased to see important attention and substantial dollars in Gov. Wolf’s budget proposal devoted to clean water, nature-based economic sectors, and conservation agencies, all of which we have called for throughout Gov. Wolf’s term, including in our Green Stimulus report published in 2020. It is also encouraging that the governor proposed significantly increasing capacity at our environmental and conservation agencies to allocate federal infrastructure dollars for abandoned mine reclamation projects, plugging abandoned oil and gas wells, and installing electric vehicle infrastructure. It is of paramount importance that these federal dollars are allocated in a manner that benefits residents in every corner of the state, particularly those in environmental justice communities that are home to our most vulnerable residents.
Gov. Wolf’s budget also speaks to an important piece of his legacy—joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. We call on the General Assembly to do its part to bring Gov. Wolf’s overall vision into reality, including advancing legislation to allocate forthcoming proceeds from RGGI to transform our communities from their pollution-filled past to a carbon-free future. Our state lawmakers can choose to be part of the solution, or they can continue to stand in the way of real progress for Pennsylvania’s residents, environment, and shared natural resources.
But like the last seven years, every time Pennsylvania takes important steps forward on the environment, it follows with a few steps back. We are frustrated that the governor’s plan includes funds to study using carbon capture and hydrogen technologies, both of which are not feasible options to realistically decarbonize our energy sector. Carbon capture and hydrogen technologies will only prolong fracking in Pennsylvania and further limit our ability to drastically cut carbon pollution. We call on the governor to broaden the scope of this study to include renewable and clean energy technologies that would get us closer to decarbonizing our energy sector, rather than cherry picking technologies the fracking industry prefers.”
PennFuture is leading the transition to a clean energy economy in Pennsylvania, fighting big polluters with legal muscle, enforcing environmental laws, and supporting legislative policy that protects public health. PennFuture is engaging and educating citizens about the realities of climate change, and giving them the tools needed to influence lawmakers on the issues. Visit www.pennfuture.org for more information.
Director of Media Relations