Green groups push for billsÂ’ passage

HARRISBURG, PENNSYLVANIA - Warning “there’s no time to lose,” environmental groups joined with international, national, and Pennsylvania green energy business leaders, faith groups, sporting and labor activists, and experts on energy and the economy at the Great Green Jobs and Environment Lobby Day at the State Capitol in Harrisburg.

The lobby day, sponsored by Citizens for PennsylvaniaÂ’s Future (PennFuture), Clean Air Council, and PennEnvironment, was called to urge the Pennsylvania Senate to move forward without delay to pass legislation to fund clean energy and energy conservation.

Secretary of Environmental Protection Kathleen McGinty, along with members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly from both political parties, joined the citizen lobbyists at a press conference to emphasize the need for speedy passage of the legislation.

“The failure to pass HB 2200 last year means that today – during this extraordinary heat wave – the grid is stressed and wholesale electricity prices are skyrocketing. HB 2200 would cut demand, especially peak demand, with energy conservation, smart meters, and voluntary pricing plans to encourage reducing peak electricity usage. We must pass HB 2200 and SSHB1 now or we will have pain at the meter, just as we already have pain at the pump,” said John Hanger, president and CEO of PennFuture.

“Every day we wait to pass these vitally needed laws, great green jobs go to other states that already have large energy funds, and our state becomes less competitive. Every day without these bills means more pollution, more health risk to millions of Pennsylvanians, and more heat trapping gases that cause global warming. There is simply no time to lose.”

"Failing to address PennsylvaniaÂ’s ever growing energy needs will harm PennsylvaniaÂ’s economic potential and long term prospects. Energy demand in Pennsylvania is expected to rise 1.5 percent annually; these two bills will address the issue by allowing Pennsylvanians to use energy more efficiently and to purchase alternative energy. Failure to act on these bills now will condemn Pennsylvania to building expensive new coal or natural gas burning power plants in the near future," said Thomas Sestak, Clean Air Council deputy director for community outreach.

“Pennsylvanians want our elected officials doing more, not less, to protect our environment, and today’s public turnout makes this crystal clear,” said Nathan Willcox, energy and clean air advocate for PennEnvironment. “Over 50 PennEnvironment activists and outreach staff made the trip to Harrisburg today, first and foremost to urge senators to pass House Bill 2200 and Special Session House Bill 1. We urge the Senate to heed the call of these activists, and of citizens across Pennsylvania, by passing these critical bills as soon as possible.”

Two bills that have passed the House and are now before the Senate, the Energy Savings Bill (House Bill 2200) and the Clean Energy Funding Bill (Special Session House Bill 1), best exemplify the changes needed to bring Pennsylvania into the new energy economy.

These bills would give families and businesses the tools and information they need to cut electricity costs and their energy bills, fight global warming, and create Great Green Jobs for Pennsylvania. Lobbying on behalf of the proposed legislation will be green energy leaders already creating these 21st Century jobs, and elected officials and concerned citizens who are pledged to move the legislation forward.


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