Media Release: Pennsylvanians Against Fracking
Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvanians Against Fracking today released the second in a series of statements on the Clean Power Plan. In 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency made revisions to the Clean Air Act to set standards for power plants, redefining the standards for new power plants. Plants that went under construction after January 8, 2014 are labeled as new. Separating the standards for new plants from those for existing plants has created a loophole in the Clean Power Plan that could dangerously increase the amount of natural gas production and consumption. The gas industry has spent $747 million in the last 10 years lobbying and in campaign contributions at the federal level to get exemptions like this one from the Clean Air Act.
Existing power plants are subject to emissions limits under the Clean Power Plan, but, thanks to their separate handling under the revisions to the Clean Air Act, new power plants can be left out of the plan altogether. This is especially problematic for a state like Pennsylvania, which has gone all-in on natural gas. Natural gas is not clean power. Instead, it requires a process of fracking, transporting, and combustion, and releases a tremendous amount of methane into the atmosphere, which is a potent greenhouse gas, and leads to air quality that poses serious public health threats. Research shows that natural gas is 20 times worse for the climate on a 100-year time frame than carbon dioxide, and 86 times worse on a 20-year time frame.
“The prospect of a ‘clean power plan’ is an exciting prospect. But as is often the case, the devil is in the details. Buying into a plan that incorporates loopholes to employ more gas and new gas infrastructure is not a ‘clean energy’ plan. It is a ploy for the continued use of energy that must be left in the ground. It is a diversion from the only path that will avert the looming climate catastrophe. That correct plan would be a direct and aggressive transition to renewable energy,” said Diane Sipe, Marcellus Outreach Butler organizer and Pennsylvanians Against Fracking steering committee member.
The entire globe is currently facing a dangerous climate crisis. 2015 was the hottest year on record, and all signs point to 2016 beating that record. The Clean Power Plan opens the door to investments in gas-fired power plants with a 40-year life span. Pennsylvanians Against Fracking is calling attention to these dangers and highlighting the need for a power plan that is actually clean.
About Pennsylvanians Against Fracking: Pennsylvanians Against Fracking is a statewide coalition of organizations, institutions, and businesses calling for a halt to fracking in the Commonwealth. Steering Committee member organizations include Berks Gas Truth, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Food & Water Watch, Marcellus Outreach Butler, Marcellus Protest, Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water and Air, and Thomas Merton Center. Learn more about Pennsylvanians Against Fracking at paagainstfracking.org.