HARRISBURG, PA — On Tuesday, July 13th, members of Pennsylvania’s Environmental Quality Board (EQB) voted to approve a rulemaking authorizing Pennsylvania to participate in the CO2 budget trading program, known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
American Lung Association Director of Advocacy in Pennsylvania Molly Pisciottano stated, “The changing climate demands urgent action to reduce impacts to public health, air quality and our quality of life. The regional efforts to reduce power plant emissions are an important step toward securing critical emission reductions and addressing climate change. Pennsylvania’s participation with RGGI is critical to protecting public health at home and securing a healthy future.”
The American Lung Association’s 2021 ‘State of the Air‘ report found that nine of Pennsylvania’s counties earned a ‘D’ or an ‘F’ grade for ozone pollution, with nearly half of the commonwealth’s 67 counties having incomplete or nonexistent data. For the more than 1.7 million Pennsylvanians living with chronic lung disease, the challenges of unhealthy air are all too real. The burdens of unhealthy air fall heaviest on our children, seniors, lower-income communities and residents with existing heart and lung disease. These challenges are further compounded by the well-documented and understood public health threats associated with climate change driven by fossil fuels.
Investments in energy efficiency and other programs to reduce carbon pollution must continue to achieve pollution benefits for all communities, especially to lower-income residents most vulnerable to existing pollution levels and the impacts of climate change.
Tightening the cap on harmful carbon emissions to reduce carbon pollution from all sectors is a proactive step that can be reinforced through regional actions underway across the RGGI states. The American Lung Association in Pennsylvania applauds the EQB’s vote to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution from power plants within Pennsylvania by establishing Pennsylvania’s participation in RGGI.”
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