June 22, 2022
Harrisburg, PA – June 22, 2022 – Today, Pennsylvania Senate Democrats held a press conference shortly after President Joe Biden made a call to federal and state law makers to pause gas taxes.
“Our stance is simple; we are calling on state Republicans to join us in supporting a suspension to the state gas tax. We know there is concern about a loss of revenue while the pause is in place, but Pennsylvania has billions in surplus funds that can be used to maintain roads and bridges during the gas tax holiday,” said Senator Jay Costa, Senate Democratic Leader. “This is about putting people over corporate profit. We need to implement a gas tax holiday, use Pennsylvania’s budget surplus to ensure our roads and bridges still receive the funding they need, and hold the oil and gas industry accountable to pass the savings to consumers.”
Several Democratic Senators joined Sen. Costa, including Sen. Hughes, Sen. Boscola, Sen. Cappelletti, Sen. Flynn, Sen. Haywood, Sen. Santarsiero, Sen. Schwank, and Sen. Street. All expressing their support for President’s call to states to pause the gas tax and make sure those savings were felt by consumers and not absorbed by the oil and gas industry.
“We have the money to support a gas tax holiday. We can give hardworking families some relief at the gas pump and still make sure our roads and bridges receive funding,” said Senator Vincent Hughes. “And when we do this tax reduction, the oil and gas industry need to leave those savings for consumers. We’re stepping up. We’re responding to the President’s call. It’s time for state Republicans and the oil and gas industry to step up too.”
Senator Lisa Boscola and Senator Marty Flynn recently introduced bills that would temporarily pause the gas tax in Pennsylvania. A statewide gas tax holiday could amount to an average of thirty cents a gallon in savings to consumers.
“I applaud President Biden’s call for a gas tax holiday,” said Sen. Marty Flynn. “Right now, Pennsylvania families are paying triple the price for gas compared to what they paid last year. This is one of the most pressing issues for families, and we have money in the bank to help them. I’m done naming bridges, it’s time we do something for the people.”
“Gas tax relief is something we can do immediately in this inflation storm,” said Senator Lisa Boscola. “The billions in surplus we have is taxpayer money, and taxpayers deserve some of this money back. Combined with the federal plan, a state gas tax holiday would give real savings to families.”
Sen. Collett, Sen. Dillon, Sen. Fontana, Sen. Kearney, and Sen. Lindsey Williams also attended the press conference to show support for a proposed state gas tax holiday.
A full video of the press conference and remarks from all speakers from the Democratic Senate Caucus is available online.
May 25, 2022
HARRISBURG – May 25, 2022 – Today, Pennsylvania Senate Democrats wrote the following letter to Republican leaders in response to rampant gun violence and mass shootings that have become too common in the United States. Just this year, 215 mass shootings have taken place in the country, with the devastating shooting that occurred at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 24, 2022, being the 215th.
In the letter, the caucus calls on the Republican majority to act on “reasonable and responsible legislation and appropriations” that does not infringe on Second Amendment rights but will help keep guns away from bad actors and support gun violence prevention. Senate Democrats list seven bills that have been introduced to mitigate gun violence but have sat in committee with no discussion or votes. They also highlight how American Rescue Plan dollars and Pennsylvania’s current budget surplus can be used to help communities prevent horrific violence.
April 21, 2021
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.”
March 22, 2021
BUCKS COUNTY – March 22, 2021 – State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) today applauded Governor Wolf for the Commonwealth’s commitment to solar energy and called on the General Assembly to take up legislation to modernize the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act (AEPS).
“The Governor’s commitment to have 50% of state government powered by solar energy is exactly the type of forward progress we need in the fight against climate change,” said Sen. Santarsiero. “I have long supported setting more aggressive, long-term targets to realize the economic and environmental potential of solar and wind energy in the Commonwealth. We must act now if we are going to prevent the worst of the effects of climate change.”
Sen. Santarsiero introduced legislation in the 2018-2020 session to modernize the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act to expand Tier I requirement from 8% to 30% by 2030. Sen. Santarsiero plans to reintroduce the legislation this session, with Senators Carolyn Comitta (D-19) and Art Haywood (D-4).
“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,” continued Sen. Santarsiero. “It is time we tap into the enormous benefits from increasing our renewable energy goals and re-establish Pennsylvania as a clean energy leader.”
December 11, 2020
HARRISBURG – December 10, 2020 – Today the following members of the Pennsylvania State Senate signed a joint statement – set forth below – denouncing the brazen attempt of the attorneys general of Texas and seventeen other states to disenfranchise millions of Pennsylvanians and voters in three other states by asking the United States Supreme Court to prevent electors in Pennsylvania and those other states that voted for Joe Biden from certifying him the winner when they meet in Harrisburg and the other state capitals on Monday, December 14.
The statement reads as follows:
“The lawsuit by the attorneys general of Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia is based on the outright lie that voter fraud prevented Donald Trump from getting re-elected. Since Election Day, the Trump legal team has filed scores of such suits trying to overturn the will of the people. Time and again, the judges in those matters – in many cases conservative, Republican judges, some of whom Donald Trump appointed himself – have found that there was no evidence to support those claims and dismissed the suits accordingly.
The bedrock of our democracy is the right to vote and the right of voters to be sure that their votes will be counted. This lawsuit and others like it are a direct attack on that fundamental principle. It seeks to perpetuate the lie that the presidential election was somehow stolen. While partisan politics – and a desire to appease the president’s restive base – may be the motivation for this latest court challenge, allowing it to go forward in silence is dangerous and, we believe, would constitute a dereliction of our duty as elected representatives of the people to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The facts are these: Joe Biden received over 81 million votes, more than any candidate for president in the history of the United States and about 7 million more than Donald Trump. He received 80,555 more votes than the president in Pennsylvania. Mr. Biden received the most votes in 25 states and the District of Columbia, and, therefore, on December 14 when the Electoral College convenes, will be awarded 306 electoral votes, 36 more than the 270 needed to be elected president. Every vote cast for Joe Biden was cast freely and fairly, whether in person or by mail. In each state the vote-counting process was transparent and undertaken pursuant to law. Local and state officials, both Republican and Democratic alike, have attested to those facts, and, as noted, the courts have agreed. Joe Biden won the election.
Donald Trump has lost his bid for re-election; he seems incapable of accepting that fact. For the first time in American History, a sitting president who lost re-election has refused to acknowledge his loss, acting instead like a would-be autocrat who cannot accept any outcome that does not have him staying in power. While that may be a commentary on the character of the man, it cannot be a cause for setting aside the will of the people.
All of us have a responsibility – indeed we would go so far as to say a sacred duty – to ourselves, our fellow Americans and generations to come to prevent the lie that this election was stolen from living on and undermining future elections. For these reasons we have signed this statement and call upon others to likewise speak out and denounce this lawsuit against our state for what it is: an attack on our democracy.”
Senator Steve Santarsiero, 10th District
Senator Vincent Hughes, 7th District
Senator Maria Collett, 12th District
Senator Judy Schwank, 11th District
Senator Tim Kearney, 26th District
Senator Christine Tartaglione, 2nd District
Sen.-Elect Amanda M. Cappelletti, 17th District
Sen.-Elect Carolyn Comitta, 19th District
Senator Jay Costa, 43rd District
Senator Anthony H. Williams, 8thDistrict
Senator Katie Muth, 44th District
Senator Art Haywood, 4th District
Senator Sharif Street, 3rdDistrict
Senator Lindsey Williams, 38th District
Sen.-Elect Nikil Saval, 1st District
Sen.-Elect John Kane, 9th District
April 8, 2020
Harrisburg, PA − April 8, 2020 − The Senate adjourned Tuesday afternoon after the House Republicans indicated they would not be taking up Senate Bill 841, legislation that would have enabled local municipalities to hold their meetings remotely, permitted e-notary use; lengthened the time period a property tax payer can receive an early payment discount and delay penalties for late payments to Dec. 31st; and allowed businesses to make delayed payments on EITC. Another important amendment offered by Senator Pam Iovino (D-Allegheny) allowed school districts to renegotiate contracts to ensure contracted school workers can get paid and continue to receive benefits.
The amended SB 841 passed the Senate with bipartisan support. While the Senate Democrats and Republicans chose to put partisan difference aside, the House Republicans were pushing to please special interests and big donors. Intending to use this crisis as leverage, Speaker Turzai and his caucus passed legislation to prematurely allow businesses to reopen during this public health crisis and create a partisan task force to interfere with the Governor’s disaster response, both of which unnecessarily risk lives and threaten to expend the emergency.
“While the Governor and Department of Health Secretary offer leadership on public safety in daily briefings and Democratic members of the PA House and Senate draft legislation to protect working people who are either out of work or employed on the front lines of essential businesses, Republicans are putting lives at risk and undermining the Governor and Secretary Levine’s best efforts to end this crisis,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa, Jr. “Instead of taking the advice of our Health Secretary, they are trying to slow down our response and hasten the re-opening of non-essential businesses against the guidance of every public health entity in the country.”
The House Republicans were seeking even more egregious measures to provide civil immunity to big businesses, upend school districts ability to pay their teachers, and leave our corrections department employees at serious threat of the Coronavirus. Perhaps worst of all, the language does nothing to protect frontline workers, provide assistance to those that are out of work, or to help small businesses weather this crisis.
In an amendment to Senate Bill 327, House Republicans designed a task force with partisan appointees to usurp the Governor’s ability to rapidly respond to this quickly-evolving crisis. Their bill would require the Secretary of Health to leave PEMA, take hours away from public health crisis planning and defend her work in front of a redundant, political body.
The Senate Democratic Caucus will not support these bills. Alternatively, this caucus will be supporting legislation on the following issues:
- The American Working Family Relief Action Plan for front-line worker protections (Collett/L. Williams)
- Protecting workers during public health emergencies (Santarsiero)
- COVID-19 Food Worker Safety Act (Tartaglione)
- COVID-19 Grocery Store Worker Safety Act (Tartaglione)
- Payment of contract services in schools (Iovino)
- Childcare assistance (Schwank/L. Williams)
- Emergency expansion of the Family Medical Leave Act to provide paid sick leave (Farnese)
- Crisis grants for volunteer fire and EMS companies due to COVID-19 (Brewster)
- Require business interruption insurance to cover COVID-19 related business closures (Hughes)
- Eviction protection for all disaster emergencies (Farnese)
- Coronavirus disease and schools: allowing for online instruction (Dinniman)
- Creating a Common Wealth Fund to collect donations from individuals to provide for essential needs of those in need (AH Williams)
- Providing a presumption of eligibility for Workers’ Compensation benefits for workers that get sick in the workplace (Tartaglione)
- Ensuring receipt of a stimulus check from the Federal government is not included in an individual’s income for purposes of qualifying for social safety nets (Schwank)
- Exempting stimulus checks from the Federal government from State and local taxation (Brewster)
- Collaborating with financial institutions to mandate mortgage loan forgiveness, assistance to homeowners that were laid off due to state emergencies (Farnese)
“While many working Pennsylvanians are suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic, facing lost hours or even complete unemployment, others who find themselves in more fortunate circumstances have expressed a desire to help their fellow citizens by either donating to a local charity or patronizing local businesses,” said Senator Anthony H. Williams. “By establishing the “Pennsylvania Common Wealth” restricted account, taxpayers could redirect all or a portion of their stimulus check to the state, which in turn would be authorized to direct those funds into programs which help the neediest Pennsylvanians – property tax & rent rebates, temporary assistance for needy families, CHIP or medical assistance.”
“Pennsylvania needs solutions that help protect its working people who have been hit the hardest by the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic,” Senator Vincent Hughes said. “We in the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Caucus have put forth a number of policy proposals that would do just that, meanwhile House Republicans have chosen to ignore these needs and push an agenda that jeopardizes public health and puts additional pressure on working people by delaying immediate relief. Our mission should be helping people in this unprecedented time of need and we will remain vigilant in protecting hardworking folks across the commonwealth.”
“As public servants, our most important duty is to protect the health, safety and welfare of our citizens. This includes making difficult decisions in challenging times. We all want businesses to reopen, employees back on the job, students back in classrooms and some semblance of normal life to resume, but that cannot happen unless we first continue mitigation efforts and follow the advice of our scientists and experts,” said Senator Wayne D. Fontana. “Anything contrary can set back progress and cause further harm on our economy and most importantly, on human health. The bipartisan legislation the Senate approved provides some necessary guidance and relief to local governments, businesses, school employees and property taxpayers during this unprecedented situation. It is unconscionable that House Republicans blatantly disregarded that duty and have chosen not to act.”
“The spread of coronavirus has not quieted the voice of special interests in Harrisburg and that’s tragic,” said Senator Larry Farnese. “Mitigation through isolation is working and we have to recognize that sacrifice through legislation that actually helps front-line workers instead of just saying nice things on social media.”
“This crisis and the Commonwealth’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic requires leadership, transparency and cooperation – not partisan politics,” said Senator John Blake. “While we’ve worked well with the Senate majority on real solutions that actually help people in this crisis, the House majority looks to undermine the executive authority of the Governor as well as the advice of medical and scientific experts regarding public health. I applaud the work being done by Governor Wolf and his administration to keep Pennsylvanians safe and to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. I will continue to support important legislation to help our business community, front-line workers and medical professionals; and to protect our citizens, schools and local governments across this state. We need to remain vigilant in following the recommendations of the PA Department of Health and the federal CDC.”
“Issues that the Commonwealth was already facing have been exacerbated by this pandemic, and child care services and early learning programs are near the top of the list. Childcare centers are teetering on the brink of insolvency, which is why part of our legislative package addresses early childhood learning and safe, quality childcare. We will not be able to restart Pennsylvania’s economy without this key component,” Senator Judy Schwank said. “Additionally, it’s vital that the income requirements of state programs like PACENET and Property Tax and Rent Rebate are adjusted so that Pennsylvanians receiving federal aid are not penalized later.”
“The key to an effective response to the pandemic is to ensure that our citizens are protected, health risks are addressed, and our economy restarts quickly,” Senator Jim Brewster said. “That’s why I introduced a six-point stimulus plan that will help small business, protect workers and create jobs once we are clear the threat posed by the pandemic. In addition, we need to make sure to address the immediate and long-term needs of first responders and all workers and businesses who are providing essential services during this time of extraordinary stress.”
“There is no segment of our Commonwealth that hasn’t been upended by this crisis. Everything is a priority. But in order to save livelihoods, we must first save lives,” said Senator Maria Collett. “As a nurse, I know firsthand the challenges our health care workers are up against and the urgency of passing legislation like the American Working Family Relief Action Plan for Front-Line Workers. Our doctors, nurses, first responders, senior care aides and others should not have to worry about getting sick or infecting others while performing their essential work.”
“It is irresponsible for the state to reopen businesses at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak. Those who are not essential workers should remain home,” said Senator Art Haywood. “We need to do all we can as legislators to support essential employees risking their lives on a daily basis,” said Senator Haywood (D-Montgomery/Philadelphia). “I will continue to support the work Governor Wolf and Secretary Levine have done to inform the public to remain safe and stay home.”
“The citizens of Pennsylvania are counting on their elected representatives to save lives by responding swiftly, pragmatically, and in a bipartisan manner to slow the spread of this highly contagious virus,” said Senator Pam Iovino. “To fulfill our duty to the public, we must follow the consensus guidance of public health professionals, focus on protecting front-line essential workers, and put in place protections that allow furloughed or unemployed workers and small businesses to weather the economic disruption.”
“As the Democratic chair of the Local Government Committee, I worked with stakeholders for weeks to craft the provisions of SB 841, I am disappointed these commonsense measures, which passed the Senate with bipartisan support, are being held up by House Republicans for little reason,” said Senator Tim Kearney. “The House should immediately pass SB 841 and focus on bringing relief to Pennsylvanians, rather than sabotaging the Governor’s efforts to keep our families safe.”
“Yesterday, the majority party in both chambers failed to use their legislative power, where they can literally pass any bill they want to, and instead decided to pack up and go home without,” said Senator Katie Muth. “Failing to pass meaningful bills when people are fighting for their lives is simply negligent.”
“Now is not the time to play politics,” said Senator Steve Santarsiero. “Saving lives has to be the first priority. In order to do that, we must all do our part and follow the Governor’s and Department of Health’s plans as they’ve been explained to us countless times. SB 841 is just one of many ways our caucus has worked in a bipartisan effort to provide relief to those who need it most. However, SB 327 is exactly what our healthcare professionals warn us against. Promoting a premature return to normalcy will only undermine our effort to keep the public safe, and further endanger thousands of lives.”
“Government’s most important role is the protection of its people. Since the COVID-19 crisis the Senate has met three times, with little to show for it. Communities across the commonwealth have no interest in the paralysis of government especially in the most desperate of times. What they do care about is the protection of our essential workforce, the interruption of our small businesses, job loss, staying in their homes and educating their children. The only thing that matters is the preservation and protection of every resource needed to keep families safe during this health crisis,” said Senator Sharif Street.
“We need to be back in Harrisburg, we need to get back to work. We must work together to ensure our communities are protected during uncertain times.”
“As thousands of Pennsylvanians continue to get sick and hundreds die, now is no time to play partisan politics,” Senator Tina Tartaglione said. “As public leaders, we must unite behind the common goal of reducing the threat of this virus and mitigating the harm being done to our constituents. The package of bills we have proposed will directly help all Pennsylvania families, including essential workers, displaced workers, first responders, school children, those who have become sick, and those in need. I urge all legislators from all political parties to support these bills.”
“Stopping the spread of COVID-19 and saving lives is our top priority. We also need to protect and support our constituents, our communities, and our businesses,” said Senator Lindsey Williams. “Our front-line essential workers – our hospital workers, grocery store workers, emergency service personnel and others – cannot afford to wait for PPE. They needed it weeks ago. Our childcare facilities need our help to stay open and provide care to the children of our essential workers while they risk their lives for us. Our small businesses need financial support to stay afloat. Our municipalities need the ability to meet remotely and make decisions that will ensure the safety of all of residents. There are a lot of needs right now and our constituents do not have time for us to waste playing partisan games or naming bridges. The Senate Democrats have offered concrete solutions that will help people. We should all be working together to get them to the Governor’s desk for signature as soon as possible.”
More information on the work of the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Caucus during the COVID-19 crisis can be found at pasenate.com/covid19.
April 10, 2019
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/.
March 13, 2019
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.