Can Biden’s climate plan spark cooperation in Pa.? Some see possible common ground in jobs, infrastructure
News Article • 11/25/2020 • by Rachel McDevitt at StateImpact
Climate change is one of the four major crises President-elect Joe Biden hopes to tackle after he’s sworn into office in January.
His goal is for the U.S. to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
In Pennsylvania, a high-polluting state with a history of coal and natural gas production, it’s fair to expect pushback on Biden’s plan from the Republican-controlled legislature and industry groups.
Opinion: Legislators should keep hands off conservation funds
News Article • 11/18/2020 • by Shannon Gority, PA executive director of the Chesapeake Bay at Gant Daily
As Pennsylvania legislators begin looking under the Commonwealth’s cushions for enough spare change to plug a state budget gap that could be higher than $4 billion, they should keep hands off of funds already dedicated to conservation and environmental programs.
Climate activists are turning out Pa. voters to flip the state House — and boost Biden
News Article • 11/2/2020 • by Justine McDaniel at Philadelphia Inquirer
Edna Patterson can list the reasons she spends 15 to 20 hours a week calling Pennsylvania voters to talk about climate change:
She’s a former high school science teacher. Before that, she worked for a federal climate assessment program as a meteorologist. And she has kids and grandkids.
“Time’s running out,” said Patterson.
Patterson, 68, of West Chester, volunteers for Conservation Voters of PA as it works to reach more than two million voters before Tuesday. And she’s one of many advocates pushing the issue during an election year that has seen Americans roiled by natural disasters extreme enough to capture public attention, even amid the chaos of the coronavirus pandemic.
US election swing states: will Donald Trump hold on to Pennsylvania?
News Article • 11/2/2020 • by Jake Blumgart at New Statesman
“The shifting political climate in the state has put a number of races in play that weren’t in prior cycles,” said Josh McNeil, executive director of Conservation Voters of PA. “The increased polarisation, largely around the president, has reshaped the political landscape. If you voted against the environment a lot in, say, Bucks County, it’s a lot harder to get away with it now.”
The Conservation Voters of PA and other environmental groups are spending more than $2m on legislative races in the state, hoping that 2018’s results and anti-Trump backlash will allow for down-ballot Democratic victories. The state-level legislative maps in Pennsylvania heavily favour Republicans, even in the absence of gerrymandering. Although the Democrats are very competitive in state-level races, and win a majority of votes half the time, they routinely fail to win control of the General Assembly.
Group looks to turn PA General Assembly blue to make progress on the environment
News Article • 11/2/2020 • by Kara Holsopple at Allegheny Front
Polls show that a majority of Pennsylvanians want lawmakers to do something about climate change. An annual environmental scorecard tracks how state legislators vote on climate and other environmental issues. In many parts of the state, that voting record is pretty dismal.
Conservation Voters of PA and its partners put out this scorecard each year. To get more traction on environmental issues, they’re putting money and resources into endorsing candidates to flip Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled legislature. The Allegheny Front’s Kara Holsopple spoke with Josh McNeil, executive director of Conservation Voters of PA.
Swing-state Pennsylvanians are divided on fracking. Here’s why.
News Article • 11/2/2020 • by Lili Pike at Vox
Josh McNeil, the executive director of Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania, which opposes fracking, said that it is time for the state to break free of extractive industries that have caused boom and bust cycles.
“Two months ago now, the legislature gave away a [$670] million handout to build petrochemical plants in the state, and they did that to create a market for natural gas. I’m not seeing anything like that for solar or wind.”
“We would like to see an even playing field that allows solar and wind, which in many cases are already cheaper than coal and gas, get the same kind of treatment.”
Environmental groups to spend $2M to flip Pa. legislature
News Article • 10/8/2020 • by Ryan Briggs at WHYY
Several Pennsylvania environmental groups plan to pour millions into closely contested State House and Senate races with the goal of flipping the General Assembly in Democrats’ favor.
Josh McNeil, executive director of Conservation Voters of PA –– an independent affiliate of the national League of Conservation Voters –– said his group would sink $971,000 into independent expenditures designed to knock out incumbents in 22 legislative races, including 11 in the Philadelphia suburbs.
Hold politicians accountable for environmental voting records
News Article • 9/30/2020 • by Tom Sacino at Bucks Local News
Between PFAS contamination, poor air quality, and the general looming dangers related to climate change, Bucks County does not have time to wait for environmental action. When our elected officials refuse to do the right thing for Bucks County’s air and water, it’s important we hold them accountable.
SEPTA board shifts to Democratic majority for first time ever
News Article • 9/25/2020 • by Patricia Madej and Jason Laughlin at The Philadelphia Inquirer
The blue wave that crashed on the Philadelphia suburbs last November has rippled through SEPTA’s governing body, which now has a Democratic majority for the first time.
SEPTA’s newest board member, John Cordisco, a lawyer and chairman of the Bucks County Democratic Committee, gives the 15-member board an 8-7 tilt toward the Democrats. On Thursday, Cordisco replaced Charles Martin, a former Bucks County commissioner, who was appointed to the board in 2001.
Pa. needs strong public transit for equitable pandemic recovery
News Article • 9/14/2020 • by Josh McNeil and Sam Williamson at Trib Live
The covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the economic and environmental inequities that plague Pittsburgh, and a strong public transit system will be necessary to get those impacted back to work and jump-start the economy when conditions are safe.
With the Trump administration’s response to covid-19 a complete disaster — characterized by ignoring science and leaving the states to their own devices — our state and local leadership have an even bigger role to play to get our economy moving again.