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Pa. Senate bill would require state to continue working to reduce emissions

Bob Bauder
ptrcosta080615
Andrew Russell | Trib Total Media
Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Forest Hills, talks with Tribune-Review editors and reporters in 2015.

Pennsylvania would continue implementing Obama-era regulations mirroring the Paris Climate Accord under legislation crafted by two state Senate leaders from Allegheny County.

Sens. Jay Costa, D-Forest Hills, and Wayne Fontana, D-Brookline, are pushing a bill that would require the Department of Environmental Protection to continue ongoing plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions statewide by 32 percent over the next 13 years.

The senators criticized President Trump for announcing last week that he would withdraw the United States from the Paris accord. Costa called the president’s action “an attack on humanity and future generations.”

“In the absence of federal leadership, I’m going to take steps to ensure a future for our children, providing an environment where people can grow, thrive and live with an expectation that the water they’re drinking and the air they’re breathing is clean and safe,” Costa said in a statement.

Fontana conceded it will be difficult, if not impossible, to pass the legislation in the state’s GOP-controlled General Assembly. But he noted: “Republicans don’t want to breath bad air or drink bad water, either.”

He said he doesn’t think Pennsylvania lawmakers would roll back stipulations requiring a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Under Obama’s Clean Power Plan, states were permitted to set their own goals for reducing emissions.

“I think what we were involved in has reasonable goals and we want to make sure Pennsylvania adheres to the goals,” Fontana said.

Trump’s announcement last week that the U.S. would pull out of the Paris agreement and his comment that he represented the people of “Pittsburgh, not Paris” touched off protests across the globe.

Mayor Bill Peduto said he was personally offended by the remark. About 2,000 people gathered in Pittsburgh on Saturday, including the mayor, to protest Trump’s announcement that he would take steps to withdraw the United States from the Paris agreement.

“It’s sad and embarrassing that our nation is abandoning this worthy effort and that our president used Pittsburgh as his example for why he made such a profoundly wrong decision,” Fontana said.

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

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