BUCKS COUNTY − June 30, 2022 − The following statement is attributable to Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10), in response to the Supreme Court of the United States’ decision in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency.
“The Supreme Court’s decision today in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency represents another major departure from established legal precedent and ignores the clear will of Congress in passing the Clean Air Act, which gave discretion to the EPA and its environmental experts to implement reasonable measures to protect our environment.
This politically motivated Supreme Court majority is again out of step with the majority of Pennsylvanians and Americans. We cannot further delay reasonable and scientifically valid regulations to address the imminent and present dangers climate change poses to our economy, our environment, our national security and indeed our way of life.
Here in Pennsylvania, the environmental amendment in our state Constitution is clear: ‘The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic, and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come.’
I will continue to work with my colleagues in the General Assembly to ensure those rights are protected and that we do all we can to combat the devastating effects of climate change we feel every day.”
BUCKS COUNTY – April 21, 2021 – State Senators Steve Santarsiero (D-10), Art Haywood (D-4) and Carolyn Comitta (D-19) announced today during a virtual press conference that they will be introducing SB 300, a bill to expand the state’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS) Tier I requirement from 8% to 30% by 2030. Highlighting the benefits of job creation and curbing the devastating effects of climate change, the senators shared a vision for a sustainable energy future in Pennsylvania.
“Global climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing our generation. It has already had significant impacts on the environment, from rising sea levels to more extreme weather events, costing businesses, governments and taxpayers billions of dollars,” said Sen. Santarsiero. “It is long overdue that we implement stronger renewable energy goals to create good jobs, cut pollution and ensure a sustainable and prosperous Pennsylvania for future generations. With the AEPS percentage requirements set to plateau in 2021, and dire consequences for inaction to reverse the effects of climate change, it is time we tap into the enormous benefits from increasing our renewable energy goals and re-establish Pennsylvania as a clean energy leader.”
“Renewable energy creates jobs, saves farmers, and can help us to save the planet. We believe strongly that this proposal could be one of the largest economic development and job stimulus bills in decades,” added Sen. Haywood.
A forward-thinking policy when enacted in 2004, the AEPS percentage requirements are set to plateau in 2021, setting the stage for modernizing the standards. In the years since the legislation was enacted, neighboring states have set more aggressive standards that has left Pennsylvania trailing behind. SB 300 seeks to bring Pennsylvania back into the forefront as a clean energy leader by:
- Expands the AEPS Tier I requirement from 8% to 30% by 2030, including 7.5% for in-state grid-scale solar and 2.5% for in-state distributed generation solar;
- Directs the PUC to study the benefits of a renewable energy storage program;
- Provides for several protections that control costs for electricity customers, including long-term contracting, fixed ACP payments, and a 15-year lifetime limit for generating eligible SRECs for solar projects.
Sen. Comitta, Democratic Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee added, “The climate crisis is not stopping. Neither can we. Pennsylvania must recommit itself to realistic and achievable renewable energy requirements. Thirty percent by 2030 is just that – a job-creating, emissions-reducing, cost-saving, economy-building, forward-thinking goal. As we look ahead to the 51st Anniversary of Earth Day, let’s work to restore our planet through competitive renewable energy standards that support the health of our economy, the health of our environment, and the health of all people.”
The trio of lawmakers were joined by Democratic colleagues in support, many calling attention to the economic benefits of renewable energy, specifically job creation for generations to come.
Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D-41) said, “Forward-thinking policies like updated AEPS standards can curb the disastrous impacts of climate change while also fostering a stronger clean energy economy in the Commonwealth. This is a job-creating, planet-sustaining piece of legislation I am proud to support.”
“Modernizing Pennsylvania’s emissions standards and prioritizing renewable energy are not only key to securing a sustainable future for our kids, they are key to rebuilding our economy, creating new jobs, and putting Pennsylvanians in many trades and professions back to work,” said Senator Maria Collett (D-12). “It’s time for our Commonwealth to fulfill its potential as a clean energy leader and bring new jobs and new businesses to the state when we need them most.”
Sen. Nikil Saval (D-1) said, “The importance of this expansion cannot be understated. AEPS is one of the few Pennsylvania programs pushing renewable energy forward, and this push will mean that we are lowering emissions, while simultaneously preparing our economy, our built infrastructure, and our workforce for the future. The people of Pennsylvania deserve this investment.”
Several colleagues also voiced support for the local impact clean energy would have on their districts, particularly for farmers and those in low income neighborhoods.
“Incorporating more solar and wind energy into our everyday lives is going to be one of the best ways to secure our future, and that includes the agriculture sector,” said Sen. Judy Schwank (D-11). “For example, farmers in my district are already learning about and using solar energy as a way to cut energy costs and make additional income on the farm. We all must make a personal commitment to preserving our natural resources, not just on Earth Day but every day.”
Sen. Anthony Williams (D-8) echoed the local impact modernizing AEPS would have on his district, saying “Clean energy production is vital to environmental justice, improving air and water quality especially in low-income neighborhoods throughout the Commonwealth. This is an issue that ripples across Pennsylvania, in rural, suburban and urban communities that have been devastated by toxic pollution.”
With Earth Day right around the corner, the message was clear—if we want to curb the devastating effects of climate change and create a more sustainable future, we must act quickly.
“We have heard for years that we must act now to avoid the most dire impacts of climate change and for years the political courage has been absent to accomplish what needed to be done in order to save our planet,” said Senator Katie Muth (D-44). “Now we have reached a point where we are realizing the impacts of our inaction – extreme weather events, growing climate based global instability, and increased disease and viruses. We are now in a moment where discussion needs to turn into action and implement solutions to stop further harm from occurring. Our constituents and scientific experts know that this matter is real and we are far behind schedule.”
“I’m glad to see our caucus invested in pushing Pennsylvania towards a sustainable future,” said Sen. Amanda Cappelletti (D-17). “It is a necessary step in the right direction, which will create countless job opportunities in green energy. This is why I support moving to 100% renewable energy by 2050. We cannot be held back by pessimism and fear, we don’t have time.”
BUCKS COUNTY − February 25, 2021 − The following statement is attributable to Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) in response to the Delaware River Basin Commission Special Meeting on February 25, 2021:
“I applaud the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) on its historic vote today to protect our environment and public health by banning high-volume hydraulic fracturing. I will work to ensure this resolution is implemented here in Pennsylvania and is upheld in the courts.”
BUCKS COUNTY – November 20, 2019 – State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) and Representatives Perry Warren (D-31) and John Galloway (D-140) announced the award of grant funding totaling $368,000 through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Alternative Fuels Incentive Grants (AFIG) program for clean vehicle projects that will help improve air quality and public health in the region.
Waste Management, Inc. was awarded $300,000 for eight heavy-duty compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles for use at company sites in Bucks, Lackawanna, and Montgomery Counties.
Pennsbury School District was awarded $68,000 to convert eight old diesel school buses to propane school buses.
“Promoting alternative fuels not only improves our air quality and public health, it encourages economic growth and technological development,” Sen. Santarsiero said. “The grants awarded to Waste Management and Pennsbury School District provide a financial stimulus that ultimately moves Bucks County towards a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.”
“This grant for Pennsbury School District will improve air quality in our community and save taxpayers money in the long haul,” Rep. Warren said. “Studies have shown that propane-powered buses are cheaper to operate, maintain and repair than diesel buses. Part of the savings will come from lower fuel costs, and the maintenance of the vehicles should also save the district money.”
“This grant money will help Pennsbury School District convert its buses to use propane, a ‘green’ alternative fuel,” Rep. Galloway said. “This is great news for our community and our environment.”
The primary goals of the Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant (AFIG) Program is to improve Pennsylvania’s air quality and reduce consumption of imported oil through the use of homegrown alternative fuels that will help the Commonwealth’s economy and environment. School districts, municipalities, nonprofit organizations, and businesses are eligible to apply for AFIG grants. Approximately $3 million remains available in 2019. The deadline to apply is 4:00 PM on December 13. The next grant availability is expected to open in the spring.
Interested parties may learn more at the AFIG website and apply at eGrants.
HARRISBURG − October 3, 2019 − State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) and state Representative Steve McCarter (D-154), co-chairs of the bipartisan, bicameral Climate Caucus, along with vice-chair state Representative Carolyn Comitta (D-156) offered praise for Governor Tom Wolf’s Executive Order this morning instructing the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). RGGI is a cooperative effort among nine states to cap and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through regulation or legislation.
“Pennsylvania joining RGGI allows yet another avenue for Pennsylvania to combat climate change while promoting economic innovation throughout the Commonwealth,” said Sen. Santarsiero.
“In recent years, Pennsylvania has been seriously outpaced by stronger energy standards in neighboring states like Maryland, which is already a RGGI member, and New Jersey, which soon will be,” said Rep. McCarter. “Joining RGGI is an important step in reducing our CO2 emissions, improving our energy profile, spurring innovation in the clean energy economy and creating green jobs.”
“I applaud Governor Wolf for his leadership,” said Rep. Comitta. “We must take strong action to stop climate change and shape a healthy future for our children. Joining RGGI, positions Pennsylvania to protect our children’s future while strengthening our economy.”
The states currently participating in the RGGI program have reduced power sector CO2 pollution by 45% since its launch in 2005, while the per-capita gross domestic product of the region continues to rise.
Senator Santarsiero joined Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa, Jr. (D-43) in sponsoring SB 15, a legislative option for Pennsylvania to participate in RGGI. Reps. McCarter and Comitta have sponsored companion legislation in the House.
“Additionally, it is my hope that the Environmental Quality Board would require a portion of the profit gained following Pennsylvania’s participation in RGGI to go to supporting renewable energy technology in the Commonwealth,” Sen. Santarsiero continued. “My bi-partisan legislation, SB 600, would expand the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act (AEPS) and set Pennsylvania’s renewable energy standard to 30% by 2030. It’s vitally important that we incentivize true renewables, especially solar. This legislation, when paired with RGGI, will create a more sustainable Pennsylvania for future generations, while allowing the Commonwealth to grow economically.”
“Here in Pennsylvania and across the globe, every industry, every project and every sector will be impacted by climate change,” said Rep. McCarter, who also sponsored, with Rep. Comitta, companion legislation in the House to expand the AEPS Act. “It will require our creativity and dedication to assure communities and workers impacted that they will not be left behind to suffer the ravages of change while others benefit. This is a challenge the commonwealth took further steps to meet today.”
A link to Senator Santarsiero’s legislation, SB 600, can be found here.
A link to Representatives McCarter and Comitta’s legislation, HB 1195, can be found here.
A link to Governor Wolf’s Executive Order can be found here.
Sen. Santarsiero has district offices in Doylestown and Newtown and can be reached via email at SenatorSantarsiero@pasenate.com. Visit the district website at www.senatorstevesantarsiero.com.
Rep. McCarter’s district office is in Glenside. He can be reached via email at RepMcCarter@pahouse.net. Visit the district website at www.pahouse.com/McCarter.
Rep. Comitta’s district office is in West Chester. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the district website at https://www.pahouse.com/Comitta.
HARRISBURG, PA − September 17, 2019 – A bipartisan group of state legislators announced today that the Wolf administration is moving forward with a state Department of Environmental Protection rule to cut methane pollution in Pennsylvania, particularly from the oil and gas industry.
The legislators advocated for the governor to act in the face of proposed rollbacks of federal methane standards by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The new rule sets thresholds on types of air pollution such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), and nitrogen oxides (NOx). Operators will be required to meet federal new source standards and state Best Available Technology included in the permit conditions for equipment and processes to control pollution emissions.
“The climate crisis is urgent, and Gov. Wolf’s move today is a necessary step to protect clean air as the Trump administration moves in the wrong direction,” said Rep. Steve McCarter, D-Montgomery.
Recent analysis by Environmental Defense Fund found that methane emissions from Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry, the second largest in the nation, are five times higher than what is reported to the state Department of Environmental Protection – a staggering 520,000 tons of methane every year.
“Gov. Wolf stood with us in July as we announced the state’s entry into the U.S. Climate Alliance and pointed to methane reduction as one of the solutions. Pennsylvania needed him to move forward to advance regulations now,” said Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, R-Bucks. “The climate crisis is exploding all around us, and Pennsylvanians are demanding action. Methane emissions account for 25 percent of the climate change we are experiencing globally. At the national level, even major oil companies such as Shell and XTO – both of which operate in Pennsylvania – opposed the federal government rolling back methane rules.”
In April, Wolf enjoined Pennsylvania to the U.S. Climate Alliance by announcing the state’s support for the Paris Agreement. The move followed more than 100 local governments (including Pittsburgh and Philadelphia), businesses, investors, higher education institutions, and more that have also backed the agreement.
“Methane pollution must be reduced and eliminated,” said state Rep. Carolyn Comitta, D-Chester. “It’s clear that Washington is not going to help us. Pennsylvania just stepped up to ensure the safety of our children and families. I support Gov. Wolf’s action to protect clean air today, and I look forward to more developments as we keep Pennsylvania a great place to live, work and raise healthy families.”
“All companies must be held to a high standard and cut methane emissions from their operations here in Pennsylvania,” said Rep. Chris Quinn, R-Delaware. “It makes both economic and environmental sense.”
“The Pennsylvania constitution recognizes our right to clean air,” said Sen. Tom Killion, R-Chester/Delaware. “In light of these troublesome federal rollbacks, I’m happy to report that Gov. Wolf is keeping his word for PA.”
“Methane emissions – especially those from oil and gas activities – are shown to have accelerated climate change significantly,” said Sen. Steve Santarsiero, D-Bucks. “This call for regulation on toxic air is even more urgent now especially given the federal government’s strategy to undo environmental protections.”
HARRISBURG − April 10, 2019 − State Senators Steven J. Santarsiero (D-10), Art Haywood (D-4), Thomas H. Killion (R-9), and state Representatives Steve McCarter (D-154) and Carolyn Comitta (D-156), were joined by renewable energy advocates in the Main Capitol Rotunda to express their support for expanding the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act (AEPS).
Through an upcoming bill, the legislators aim to boost the use of clean, sustainable energy, create thousands of new jobs, and set Pennsylvania’s renewable energy goal at 30% by 2030. The legislation would also direct the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) to study the benefits of a renewable energy storage program and provide for several protections that control costs for electricity customers. The AEPS was originally initially enacted in 2004, but has since become outpaced by neighboring states.
“These standards don’t just measure progress when it comes to clean energy, family sustaining jobs, and environmental stewardship. They tell our children and grandchildren that we care about their future,” Sen. Santarsiero said. “I refuse to sit on the sidelines when so much is at stake for the next generation.”
“It is long overdue for Pennsylvania to implement new clean energy goals to create good jobs, cut pollution, and ensure we are a sustainable and prosperous state for the future of everyone,” Sen. Haywood said.
“Expanding renewable energy is critical to Pennsylvania’s future,” said Sen. Killion. “Modernizing our energy standards will protect the environment and create thousands of jobs. Substantially boosting renewable energy is absolutely the best way to provide cleaner air for our families while growing our state’s economy,” he added.
“The fierce and immediate urgency of climate change requires a fierce and immediate response,” Rep. McCarter said. “Thirty by ’30 is an excellent immediate goal. It’s reasonable and achievable. It creates jobs in Pennsylvania. And most importantly, it sets the stage for the much tougher work to come.
“I am proud to join my fellow colleagues in supporting legislation that calls for modernizing the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards,” said Rep. Carolyn Comitta. “Our state has already made important investments in alternative and clean energy technologies, but we must do more. Adjusting our electrical energy requirements to 30% by 2030 will solidify our path to reducing our carbon footprint and advance Pennsylvania toward becoming a national energy leader.”
A link to the memorandum outlining the proposed legislation can be found here.
Sen. Santarsiero has district offices in Doylestown and Newtown and can be reached via email at SenatorSantarsiero@pasenate.com. Visit the district website at www.senatorstevesantarsiero.com.
Sen. Haywood has district offices in Philadelphia and Abington can be reached via email here. Visit the district website at www.senatorhaywood.com.
Sen. Killion has district offices in West Goshen and Brookhaven and can be reached via email here. Visit the district website at www.senatorkillion.com.
Rep. McCarter has a district office in Glenside and can be reached via email here. Visit the district website at www.pahouse.com/McCarter/.
Rep. Comitta has a district office in West Chester and can be reached via email here. Visit the district website at www.pahouse.com/Comitta/.
BUCKS COUNTY − March 18, 2019 − State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D- 10), announced New Britain Borough Wilma Quinlan Nature Preserve Committee and Newtown Creek Coalition as the Bucks County winners of the 2019 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence.
“These environmental projects are key to preserving the natural beauty of Bucks County,” Sen. Santarsiero said. “I’m so proud of the residents who volunteered their time and energy to this work that benefits us all.”
The New Britain Borough Wilma Quinlan Nature Preserve Committee project focused on habitat restoration at the nature preserve. Project volunteers carried out a three-year project to clear out invasive species, install nesting boxes, redesign trails to prevent erosion, conduct a soil study, install benches, and plant 386 native trees, 119 native shrubs, and wildflowers.
The Newtown Creek Coalition project restored the Newtown Common and Creek. The streambank stabilization project included coir logs, rain gardens, porous pavement, and a team effort by many volunteers to plant native trees, shrubs, and grasses to help the borough meet its sediment and nutrient pollutant reduction goals.
The award recipients were chosen among 27 applicants and were evaluated by the Department of Environmental Protection based on the project’s degree of environmental protection, innovation, partnership efforts, economic impact, consideration of climate change, sustainability, and achieved results.
HARRISBURG − March 13, 2019 − State Senator Steven J. Santarsiero (D-10), Senator Art Haywood (D-4), and Senator Thomas H. Killion (R-9) issued a co-sponsorship memorandum detailing their proposed expansion of the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act (AEPS).
AEPS was enacted in 2004, but has since been outpaced by stronger energy standards of neighboring states.
The legislation to be introduced by Senators Santarsiero, Haywood, and Killion would expand AEPS Tier I requirements; direct the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) to study the benefits of a renewable energy storage program; and provide for several protections that control costs for electricity customers.
The Clean Power PA Coalition, a group of clean energy, business, faith, and community leaders committed to protecting Pennsylvania’s environment and powering its economy through clean energy, applauded the bipartisan announcement.
“We are excited that senators Haywood, Killion and Santarsiero recognize the tremendous potential for a clean energy economy in Pennsylvania powered by renewable energy,” Clean Power PA Coalition stated. “Their proposed legislation to modernize renewable energy standards will cut carbon emissions, improve public health and our environment and create tens of thousands of new family-sustaining jobs for residents of our Commonwealth.”
“We no longer have the luxury of time,” Sen. Santarsiero said. “If we are going to reverse global climate change we need to act boldly and we need to act now. This bill does that while at the same time creating thousands of sustainable jobs right here in Pennsylvania that otherwise will go to other states.”
An attachment to the memorandum shows how drastically Pennsylvania has fallen behind compared to neighboring states Maryland and New Jersey in terms of renewable energy goals. Current law has Pennsylvania aiming for 8 percent by 2021, while Maryland is going after 25 percent by 2025 and New Jersey, 50 percent by 2030.
The memorandum proposes that implementing stronger renewable energy goals will result in the creation of thousands of family-sustaining jobs, while also cutting emissions and ensuring a sustainable Pennsylvania for future generations. In 2017, while Maryland boasted 13,053 solar jobs, and New Jersey, 9,239 solar jobs, Pennsylvania trailed behind with only 4,670.
“Once adopted, this legislation will increase the amount of clean energy used to power our state,” said Senator Haywood. “We can decrease pollution, create jobs, and provide a cleaner environment for all.”
“It is long overdue for Pennsylvania to take advantage of renewable energy programs and the opportunities they present for all residents,” Sen. Killion said. “This legislation offers some practical solutions and is a step in the right direction.”
“This legislation is extremely timely given the discussion concerning the future of nuclear energy in Pennsylvania,” said Representative Steve McCarter, chairman of the bipartisan, bicameral Climate Caucus. “Climate change is driving us to make critical decisions about electrical generation in the commonwealth to ensure that Pennsylvania does not become a backwater in the fight to curb carbon emissions while preserving and creating good-paying jobs in Pennsylvania.”
A link to the memorandum can be found here.