I want to thank Jim Sandoe of the Citizens Climate Lobby, Malinda Clatterbuck of Lancaster Against Pipelines, and Jeremy Seitz-Brown of the Sunrise Movement for speaking with voters in the 97th PA House District about the environmental challenges that our state faces at last night’s Forum on the Environment. I walked away with a clearer view both of the challenges we face and what we need to do to meet them.
Clearly, the commonwealth needs to lead on the issue of climate change by encouraging the transition to renewable sources of energy. I think the General Assembly should set an example for institutions across the state by moving to power all government buildings with renewables and incentivizing the production of renewable energy and renewable-energy jobs in our state.
Our air quality in Lancaster is particularly bad and our waterways contain too many pollutants. We pay the costs with our health everyday. If the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection as it currently exists cannot ensure our environment is protected, then we need to reevaluate the agency to make it a more able instrument of the public good.
In addition, it is clear that the natural gas industry has far-reaching power over the bodies that grant eminent domain and permits for drilling and other actions. We need to assert the independence of Pennsylvania’s government from the industry in order to protect the public interest and our state’s environment. I am running for the General Assembly and I think the first step for all members of the General Assembly must be to assert their independence from the industry by not taking money from the fossil-fuel industry and connected PACs. To this end, I have signed the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge, I have not and I will not take money from the fossil fuel industry. I invite others to do the same.