Fri, 17 November 2006
In this podcast, PennFuture's Joy Bergey speaks with presenters at the October 2006 Philadelphia Urban Sustainability Forum event on energy. Joy speaks first with Liz Robinson, Executive Director of the non-profit Energy Coordinating Agency. ECA is best-known for helping to make low-income homes more energy efficient, but their services are available to everyone in the Philadelphia area.
At the forum, Robinson spoke about energy policies needed to ensure a sustainable future in the face of "peak oil" and global warming. Robinson explains that peak oil, which she believes we have reached, refers to the situation where humans have extracted and used half the earth's oil supply, and as such, the second half becomes much more difficult and much more expensive to extract. Robinson also shares in the podcast what she believes to be the most important policy change that must occur as soon as possible.
Joy next speaks to Nadia Adawi, Director of the Energy Cooperative of Pennsylvania. This organization is a 27-year old member-owned cooperative with more than 6500 members in southeastern Pennsylvania. The Energy Co-Op includes businesses, residences, municipalities, and organizations in its membership. Adawi's group works to bring more renewable energy into the market. Their products include 100% renewables, biodiesel for area fleets, and bioheating oil for use in home furnaces. They are also embarking on a new venture, the Philadelphia Fryer Diesel project, where they will be collecting waste restaurant grease and producing biodiesel for members' transportation needs.
To learn more about how you can buy clean, renewable energy, visit Clean Your Air. For more information about PennFuture's work on energy policy and global warming, contact us at podcast (at) pennfuture (dot) org, or visit our Web site.
Thu, 16 November 2006
PennFuture takes a moment to pause today to thank all of YOU who've come together to help work so hard on the effort to pass a Pennsylvania Mercury Rule! Today, November 16, 2996, the Pennsylvania Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) voted 3 to 2 to approve new regulations proposed by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) which will protect the health of children by reducing toxic mercury pollution made by the state’s coal-fired power plants. The IRRC approval is the last regulatory approval needed before implementation of the rule. The legislature, however, could still attempt to kill the program in the lame duck session later this month.
This afternoon in Harrisburg, Mother Nature seemed to be smiling in recognition of the momentous decision. Not one, but two rainbows, seen in the picture accompanying this post, stretched across the sky, ending at the Capitol Building. Hey folks, we couldn't make this stuff up if we tried!
“We are pleased and gratified that the IRRC stood tall against the special interests and with the 80 percent of Pennsylvanians who support tough Pennsylvania specific regulations against toxic mercury pollution,? said John Hanger, president and CEO of PennFuture. “This issue is crucial to Pennsylvania families since our state’s power plants are the second biggest emitters of toxic mercury pollution in the country. Our congratulations and gratitude go to both DEP Secretary Kathleen McGinty and Governor Edward Rendell for their vision and courage on this issue. ?
“We urge the Pennsylvania legislature to keep faith with their constituents and let this regulation become law,? continued Hanger. “This rule has been thoroughly discussed in stakeholder groups, public hearings, and a period of public comment during the past two years. At every juncture, the rule was met with overwhelming support, including an unprecedented outpouring of formal public comments – nearly 11,000 filed, with only 37 in opposition.
“Some in the legislature want to nullify the regulatory process and overturn the clear wishes of their constituents,? continued Hanger. “That would be arrogance of the nth degree, and is exactly what the voters rebelled against at the polls earlier this month. We must not let the polluters succeed.?
“We urge the legislature to abide by the IRRC decision and let the mercury regulations become law,? concluded Hanger. “Surely protecting babies from brain and neurological damage from toxic mercury is a cause worth fighting for.?
The genesis of the Pennsylvania rule was in August 2004, when PennFuture formally filed a petition with the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board (EQB) on behalf of 10 public health, sporting, women's rights and environmental and conservation organizations, asking the EQB to enact a regulation requiring coal-fired power plants to reduce their mercury emissions by 90 percent. Today nearly 70 organizations, including the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association, the Pennsylvania Parent Teachers Association, the Learning Disabilities Association and the Pennsylvania Council of Churches, have joined in this vital effort.
Toxic mercury pollution from power plants threatens the health of women and their babies. More than 600,000 women of childbearing age nationwide have amounts of mercury in their blood over the level set as safe by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Academy of Sciences. Unsafe levels of mercury in mothers' blood and breast milk can interfere with the proper development of babies' brains and neurological systems and can lead to learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, problems with coordination, lowered IQs and even mental retardation.
To do your part to ensure the rule becomes the law of the land, and that the legislature does nothing to scuttle the process at the last minute in the lame duck session, take action on our site.
Category:Mercury -- posted at: 11:56 AM
Sat, 4 November 2006
Many leaders in various faith traditions and communities nationwide have taken firm and visible stands on the need for immediate and effective action to curb global warming. Viewing the issue as a moral imperative, people of faith take the call to action very seriously, recognizing that the devastating impacts of global warming are and will continue to be felt most by those least fortunate among us. Further, they take their roles as good stewards or caretakers of creation as fundamental to their faith traditions.
In this podcast, PennFuture's Joy Bergey speaks first with National Council of the Churches of Christ (NCC) General Secretary Rev. Dr. Robert Edgar, who was appearing at a recent conference called "Sacred Seasons, Sacred Earth." Edgar explains why he and the NCC have placed a high priority on environmental protection and specifically on global warming work. The NCC reshaped their mission and priorities when Edgar took a leadership role there in 2000, and the NCC is the leading organization in the country in the movement for Christian unity.
Joy then speaks with Rev. Jim Wallis, President and Executive Director of Sojourners/Call to Renewal and an internationally renowned author, commentator, preacher, and activist. Wallis recently served as the keynote speaker at PennFuture's annual global warming conference in southeastern Pennsylvania, and spoke to a packed house at the Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church. Wallis describes the growing awareness among young evangelical Christians for "creation care." He shares his belief that a sea change-- not a gradual shift toward action-- is required to appropriately respond to global warming. He speaks of the critical need for new policies, new practices, and new personal choices and cultures within families as soon as possible.
To learn more about PennFuture's work on stopping global warming here at home in Pennsylvania, visit our Cool Pennsylvania campaign center. For more information, or to get involved, please e-mail us at podcast (at) pennfuture (dot) org.