Coalition Calls on Pennsylvanians to Support Carbon Pollution Standards To Protect Public Health, Sustain Economic Growth

Pennsylvania labor and environmental organizations today stood together in support of new clean air standards which will protect the environment and public health, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and spur our economy to move to cleaner energy.

April 3, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA (April 3, 2012) — Pennsylvania labor and environmental organizations today stood together in support of new clean air standards which will protect the environment and public health, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to fight climate change, and spur our economy to move to cleaner, renewable sources of energy. The rule was recently released and would limit carbon pollution for new power plants.

“Americans recognize that we can’t continue on the path we’re on with regard to carbon pollution,” said David Foster, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “Today, we have the technology and the man power to raise the bar on environmental standards in a way that will improve public health and sustain economic growth.”

Showing broad support for the new rule, the BlueGreen Alliance along with a broad coalition including the Sierra Club, Penn Environment, Clean Air Council, Natural Resources Defense Council, League of Conservation Voters, PennFuture, National Wildlife Federation and Philadelphia families spoke to the benefits of the rule, joining the more than 30 state and local labor organizations in the state that have already passed a resolution supporting the Environmental Protection Agency’s effort to limit carbon pollution.

“Economic growth and environmental stewardship are not only compatible but are immeasurably linked,” said Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, (PA-13). “The highly competitive global marketplace demands a 21st century energy policy committed to the dual goals of economic growth and a cleaner, healthier, more sustainable environment.”

Apart from improving environmental protections, implementing this rule will require that the latest technology be put to work in Pennsylvania’s industrial sector. Building and maintaining new, more efficient plants will improve efficiency, and spur innovation in clean technologies.

“As a mother of two young kids it’s impossible not to think about how the action we take or don’t take today impacts future air quality,” Gretchen Alfonso. “We need to continue to fight for forward thinking policies that protect the environment and America’s economic competitiveness for our kids.”

EPA regulations have a proven impact on air pollution, curbing air pollutants by 63 percent from 1970 to 2009. During that same period, private sector jobs grew by 86 percent.

“With this rule, the EPA is setting the right priorities to clean up and modernize the way we power our country ensuring healthier kids, families and workers, while sustaining economic growth and fighting climate change.” said Robin Mann, President of the Sierra Club.

Moving forward, it’s important that Congress make progress with complementary policies that spur innovation and deployment of clean technologies, including measures to address global competitiveness, create clear market signals for clean technology deployment, and help to ignite the revitalization of our manufacturing sector.

“We must reduce CO2 as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Matt Schwartz.  “Physicians are seeing rising hospitalization rates for asthma and allergy attacks from more smog and ground level ozone and more unexplainable lung cancers. Markedly reduced CO2 pollution from energy efficiency is absolutely essential to the health and welfare of my patients and those of my colleagues in Pennsylvania.”

The event took place as the Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference in Philadelphia, which featured speakers who voiced support for an economy-wide approach to boosting clean energy technology and manufacturing job creation.