Pennsylvania Currents - Fall / Winter 2020

October 13, 2020
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In this issue:

Elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

The stakes have never been higher for our water, health, or climate. We need a President who has a bold vision to address the climate crisis, who follows the science, and who will put our water and communities first. Joe Biden will be that President.

The country can’t afford another 4 months of the Trump administration, let alone another 4 years. In late September, during a trip to California in the wake of devastating climate-fueled fires, the President had the gall to say “it’ll get cooler” and “I don’t think the science knows, actually” during a discussion that mentioned climate change. That is a stunning amount of deliberate ignorance from the President.

That alone should make him unfit to serve. But it goes deeper than that — the Trump administration has spent the last four years weakening the Clean Water Act, refusing to take steps to address the climate crisis, and doing everything it can to pad the profits of corporate polluters like the fossil fuel industry. This has to stop.

How it stops is electing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

A Biden-Harris administration will use the power of the federal government to fight environmental injustice. Biden has committed to holding polluters accountable for the damage they do to communities. A Biden administration will restore our country’s global role in addressing climate change and has committed to significant investments in clean energy and to aggressive reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Biden and Harris are committed to critical democracy reforms to ensure that people and community voices are not drowned out by money in politics, lack of ballot access, and ethics problems.

The bottom-line: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will lead the way in restoring critical environmental and public health protections to safeguard our water and communities. It’s that simple.

Make sure when you cast your ballot, you cast it for Joe Biden and
Kamala Harris, along with Clean Water Champions like Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (Dist. 1), Rep. Madeline Dean (Dist. 4), Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (Dist. 6), Rep. Matt Cartwright (Dist. 8) and Eugene DePasquale (Dist. 10).

For more information: https://cleanwateraction.org/biden-harris

Voting by Mail? Make Sure to Read This!

Over 3 million Pennsylvanians are projected to vote by mail this year — many taking advantage of this new secure voting method in Pennsylvania for the first time due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. If you are voting by mail this year, it is critical that you follow these steps to ensure that your vote gets counted this year.

1. Use blue or black ink to fill out your ballot.  Fill in ovals to make a selection.

2. You must use both envelopes — ballot goes in an inner secrecy envelope (marked OFFICIAL BALLOT), which you must then place in the outer postage paid envelope.

3. You must sign and date the declaration on the outside of the postage paid envelope. This is the signature that will be compared to your voter registration card.

It’s important to vote as early as you can — don’t let that ballot sit around!

You can also hand deliver to locations set up by your county election offices, if you prefer. Find a drop off location near you at www.vote.pa/return.

In in this newsletter you’ll find Clean Water Action’s endorsements for pro-environment candidates on this year’s ballot.

U.S. House:

Replacing a Zero with a Hero

The Cook Political Report rates Pennsylvania’s 10th congressional district as one the most competitive races in the country. The district, includes portions of Cumberland, Dauphin, and York counties.

Eugene DePasquale gives clean water voters and advocates a chance to win this race. A win would be replacing Scott Perry, who has a 0% environmental voting record on our federal scorecard, with someone who has a long track record of making protecting the environment a priority at all levels of government. As Deputy Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Eugene helped secure the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act which requires that a certain percentage of all electric energy sold to retail customers be derived from alternative energy sources such as solar, wind and hydropower. During his six years as a state representative, Eugene sponsored legislation to invest in renewable energy projects and tackle climate change, including passing the bi-partisan Alternative Energy Investment Act. As the current Pennsylvania Auditor General, he conducted an audit to assess the impact of fracking on the environment and drinking water quality which concluded that DEP was not prepared to protect drinking water or enforce environmental protections. He also released a special report on the fiscal impact of climate change on Pennsylvania which found the state needed to call for an urgent, proactive, and comprehensive strategy to combat it.

In Congress, Eugene will continue to focus on investment in renewable energy, including advocating for greater investment in smarter energy storage for solar and wind, and a more durable grid. He also supports improving our stormwater infrastructure and increasing stream buffers to protect and clean up our waterways, especially the Susquehanna River which is suffering from years of over-pollution.

While this race offers an opportunity to change the makeup of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation, it is vital to also protect those members of Congress who will help undo President Trump’s disastrous environmental policies. That’s why Clean Water Action also endorsed the following incumbents, all of whom had 100% voting records on the recent federal Clean Water Scorecard:

Madeline Dean (District 4 - Montgomery County), Mary Gay Scanlon (District 5 - Delaware and Chester Counties), Chrissy Houlahan (District 6 - Chester and Berks Counties), Susan Wild (District 7 - Lehigh and Monroe Counties), Matt Cartwright (District 8 - Luzerne and Monroe Counties) and Mike Doyle (District 18 - Allegheny County).

2019-2020 Pennsylvania Legislative Scorecard

The scores don’t lie. They tell the real story about whether or not Pennsylvania’s legislators are working to protect the environment, health and safety or serving other agendas. That’s why Clean Water Action collaborated on the 2019-2020 Pennsylvania Environmental Scorecard which compiles a list of the most important environmental votes taken this session in the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Democracy works best when voters and constituents are armed with the knowledge of their legislators’ actions  — and use that information to create a better Pennsylvania by engaging and holding them accountable. We hope you find the 2019-2020 Pennsylvania Environmental Scorecard to be such a tool.

ENDORSEMENTS

PA General Assembly: A chance for some desperately needed new leadership

The 2020 election cycle offers an opportunity to flip both chambers of the legislature given the narrow breakdown of seats in the State House (109-93-1) and State Senate (28-21-1). This is an extremely important opportunity because anti-environmental leadership in both chambers makes it difficult to pass pro-environmental policies and continually forces needed defensive measures to combat bills that promote plastics, derail action on climate change and roll back protections for oil and gas operations.

Clean Water is supporting a slate of candidates that are looking to take advantage of open seats due to retirement or replace legislators with poor environmental voting records. While the news is focused on our state’s role in the Presidential election, making sure to vote for State Representative and Senate is critical to ensuring all Pennsylvanians have clean air and water.

Southwest

Emily Skopov for State Representative, 28th District (Allegheny County)

As someone who founded a non-profit based on the principles of reuse and recycling, Emily is dedicated to ensuring that every Pennsylvanian can enjoy their constitutional right to clean air, pure water, and the preservation of our natural resources.

Lissa Geiger Shulman for State Representative, 30th District (Allegheny County)

Lissa will be a new voice for Harrisburg who’ll end tax giveaways to petrochemical companies and support state regulations to control methane emissions, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.

Jessica Benham for State Representative36th District (Allegheny County)

A next generation leader for the environment who’ll fight for state investment in green infrastructure to provide resources for projects that solve flooding issues that impacts residents’ lives.

Nick Pisciottano for State Representative, 38th District (Allegheny County)

Nick will advocate for reducing pollution along the Monongahela River and protecting our firefighters from toxic PFAS chemicals through implementing a buyback program of contaminated firefighting foam.

Michele Knoll for State Representative, 44th District (Allegheny County)

Michele is committed to fully funding and staffing the Department of Environmental Protection. As a lifelong educator, she will also help safeguard our children’s future from harmful lead hazards.

Byron Timmins for State Representative, 46th District (Washington County/Allegheny County)

Bryon knows that public transit investment is not only important in reducing climate pollution but is a critical lifeline for many seniors, people with disabilities and low income workers. That’s why he’ll support renewing dedicated state funding that helps the Port Authority of Allegheny County.

Michael Badges-Canning for State Representative, 64th District (Butler County/Venango County)

Michael knows that legacy pollution from the oil boom taints our drinking water and fouls our soil. He’ll fight to hold corporations accountable — forcing them to pay to clean up their messes and restore the damage done to our communities.

Central

George Scott for State Senate, 15th District (Dauphin Co./Perry Co.)

George will draw on his leadership experience as a U.S. Army officer and community pastor to ensure the industrial wastewater, runoff, and poor management that have threatened the Susquehanna River are addressed.

Patty Smith for State Representative, 104th District (Dauphin Co./Lebanon Co.)

Patty will be a Harrisburg watchdog- fighting to protect our natural resources by calling for greater accountability of fracking operations. She’ll also help lead the way on climate change by advocating for investment in renewable energy and boosting our electric capability.

Brittney Rodas for State Representative, 105th District (Dauphin County)

Brittney will work to address poor air quality, ensure stronger oversight of development to better preserve green spaces and shift from subsidizing dirty energy sources towards proposals that would create good-paying jobs through green energy investment.

Lindsay Drew for State Representative, 106th District (Dauphin County)

Bringing the voices of everyday Pennsylvanians to the forefront in Harrisburg, Lindsay will advocate for smart solutions to improve air quality and expand public transportation through environmentally conscious infrastructure.

Southeast

Carolyn Comitta for State Senate, 19th District (Chester County)

Carolyn believes in ensuring we have a healthy planet to pass on to future generations, including through taking steps to reduce carbon pollution from Pennsylvania’s electric power sector at least 90% by 2040.

Marlene Katz for State Representative, 29th District (Bucks County)

Marlene is concerned about the repercussions from regulation rollbacks and lack of enforcement of existing protections. She’ll work toward making sure our water systems are safe and finding solutions for the PFAS crisis.

Nancy Guenst for State Representative, 152nd District (Montgomery County/Philadelphia County)

As Mayor of Hatboro Borough, Nancy helped create an Environmental Advisory Board to oversee ways the community can become more environmentally friendly. In Harrisburg, she’ll make sure more resources are devoted to helping residents whose health and drinking water has been contaminated by toxic PFAS chemicals.

Dianne Herrin for State Representative, 156th District (Chester County)

Dianne is a vocal leader in the fight to reduce single-use plastic bags that pollute our neighborhoods and increase our reliance on fracking. She’ll user her experience as a professional energy consultant to lead Pennsylvania workers away from dirty energy into green jobs.

Anton Andrew for State Representative, 160th District (Chester County/Delaware County)

A strong advocate for low-income communities and communities of color disproportionately impacted by pollution, Anton will take his experience fighting to increase investment in clean energy and keep our air and water clean to Harrisburg.

PA General Assembly: Protecting the Environmental Voices

An influx this session of 49 new legislators, including a record number of women and 31 new environmental champions brought fresh and critical voices to environmental fights.  It’s important clean water voters support these champions so we can continue to proactively address issues like climate change, eliminate single use plastic bags and protect our children from lead hazards. Clean Water Action’s slate of endorsed candidates for re-election includes those below.

Southwest

Sara Innamorato for State Representative, 21st District (Allegheny County)

Prioritizing Pennsylvanians’ health over corporate profits, Sara brings environmental concerns into dialogue with family-sustaining jobs and will continue to work for a sustainable green future.

Dan Miller for State Representative, 40th District (Allegheny County)

Dan continually seeks to put the health and well-being of Pennsylvanians first, including introducing legislation that would require disclose of what chemicals are used in the fracking and advocating for financial resources to improve and repair critical water and sewer infrastructure.

Southeast

Wendy Ullman for State Representative, 143rd District (Bucks County)

A lifelong environmentalist and tireless advocate, Wendy is passionate about supporting incentivizes for solar, wind, and smart grid technology to grow our economy, reduce pollution, protect public health, and create numerous stable, high paying jobs.

Danielle Friel Otten for State Representative, 155th District (Chester County)

A proven fighter who’s protecting our communities from unmitigated environmental risks by introducing legislation to demand greater accountability, oversight, and justice for communities that are affected by the construction of the Mariner East and other pipeline projects.

Jennifer O’Mara for State Representative, 165th District (Delaware County)

Recognized as one of the country’s most accessible legislators, Jen protected residents from major storms by securing funding for green infrastructure projects in Radnor and brought back thousands in state money to maintain and preserve local parks.

Greg Vitali for State Representative, 166th District (Delaware County/Montgomery County)

Greg is viewed as the leading environmental voice in Harrisburg. He has a 97% lifetime environmental voting record during his over two decades in office and regularly serves as Chair of the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee-putting him at the forefront of all major environmental fights.

Joe Hohenstein for State Representative, 177th District (Philadelphia County)

An alum of Clean Water Action who’s committed to addressing lead contamination of our neighborhoods and drinking water and expanding access to natural resources by supporting state funding for the Bridesburg Park along the Delaware riverfront.

We Need You!

Achieving success in these races requires all hands on deck. We need you. Clean Water Action is hosting virtual phone banks every Tuesday from 6-8, calling targeted voters that are crucial to helping us flip the Pennsylvania General Assembly and ensuring Pennsylvania’s electoral votes goes for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Are you ready to get involved? Sign up here NOW to volunteer!

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