Engage with Elected Reps

This page summarize the Engage with Your Elected Reps, a feature of our weekly Philly Talks Climate show. It includes current legislation at the City & State levels.

If you don’t already have your City level elected reps on your phone, lookup here, then call, tweet or write them about these. Not sure who represents you in Harrisburg? Lookup here.

City of Philadelphia

We want clean streets. Stop with the leaf blowers. Hire people to rake, sweep and / or vacuum our streets! Tell this to City Council and Mayor.

We heart clean air. Stop burning Philly trash! — Concerned about the added air pollution in our region from trash incineration? The full City Council still gets to vote on this, likely 6/13/19. So we just signed a petition built by the Energy Justice Network. You and/or an organization you represent can sign this too. June 13, 2019 updateSadly, our City Council voted to continue incinerating our trash as part of their Zero Waste by 2035 goal. 

PGW’s LNG facility – Call your City Council member and ask them to vote No on bill 181063. If passed, this bill would allow development of a large fossil fuel project, at a time when we need to be getting off fossil fuels. More at 350philly.org/NoLNG. June 13, 2019 updateSadly, our City Council and Mayor chose business as usual, despite 7 months of public opposition to an un-needed & unnecessary fossil fuel project.


State of Pennsylvania

Support more electric cars in PA! Support SB 596!  

Read the NRDC fact sheet – In the Driver’s Seat: A New Vision for Pennsylvania’s Transportation Future. Review the co-sponsors to date – MENSCH, KILLION, BOSCOLA, BROWNE, COSTA, YUDICHAK, FARNESE, SANTARSIERO, BREWSTER, FONTANA, STREET, BLAKE, COLLETT, LEACH, ARGALL and LANGERHOLC 

Don’t see your State Senator above? Ask them to support SB 596!  Who’s your State Senator? Look up here! and ask them to support more electric cars in PA! Support SB 596!

PASSED! Protected bike lanes and pedestrian plazas on state roads — Folks in Harrisburg are considering House Bill HB 792 to allow protected bike lanes and pedestrian plazas on state roads. Support this on the Bicycle Coalition site, or contact your state rep asking them to support HB 792.  

Even if you don’t ride a bike, these safety measures will help your friends and family who do ride, and make you feel more certain if you drive that you won’t accidentally harm a cyclist.

Mandate more electricity from renewable sources! We need to increase the amount of electricity generated from renewable sources. We can do so by mandating that our electric utilities increase the amount of electricity they generate from renewable sources, via Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS). The AEPS is a mandate from the state requiring electric utilities to supply a percentage of their electricity from alternative sources, renewable sources such as solar, wind, geothermal and hydropower.

Currently, we require our utilities to generate only 8% of our electricity from renewables. Only 8% by 2021.  There is leadership by Senators Steve Santarsiero, Art Haywood, and Tom Killion to increase this requirement. Their Senate Bill (SB 600), would raise the renewable energy targets in our AEPS from 8% to 30% by 2030.

In the House, Representatives Carolyn Comitta and Steve McCarter have introduced a companion bill, HB 1195.

Please ask your Senator and Representative to support these two bills.

It’s time to sunset nuclear power plants, not shore them up! As explained on show 8 of Philly Talks Climate, nuclear energy is NOT renewable or alternative. We cannot include nuclear in our alternative energy portfolio standards. 

Introduced as House Bill 11 by Representative Thomas Mehaffie of House District 106 in Dauphin County, and Senate Bill 510 by Senator Ryan Aument of Senate District 36 in Lancaster County, these bills include a $500 million a year bailout, funded by all of us, the electricity ratepayers. 

Southeast PA’s Representative Rosita Youngblood and Senators Sharif Street & Daylin Leach have co-sponsored these. Please ask them to change their minds. 

Nuclear energy is not clean, not renewable and not alternative. It’s time to sunset nuclear power plants, not shore them up! 

Solar on HOA property – Live in a condo, townhouse, or just a house with a home-owners association? And getting resistance when you’ve tried to install rooftop solar? Please ask your state senator to support the 2019 Senate Bill 436 introduced by Senator Dinniman.

This legislation would prevent homeowners’ associations (HOA) from prohibiting the installation of solar panels and solar energy systems on freestanding homes within their communities. Senator Dinniman drafted this legislation after a family in his district was prevented from installing such a system under the rules of their HOA.

Pennsylvania should be encouraging the use of solar power and green energy systems on residential homes as a way to derive clean pure energy from the sun. These systems are not only beneficial for the environment and combat greenhouse gas emissions, but they also offer significant savings on individual energy bills and can reduce our collective dependence on fossil fuels.

Solar systems are silent, pollution-free, and have no impact on neighboring homes. As the cost of solar systems continues to decline (and the benefits increase), more and more Pennsylvanians will be interested in pursuing the use of solar power at home.

It’s time to remove needless obstacles to residents’ rights to harness the power of solar energy at home. Current sponsors, as of April 21, 2019, are Senators DINNIMAN, FONTANA, KEARNEY, TARTAGLIONE, YUDICHAK, HAYWOOD, LEACH and MUTH. Thank them!

Community Solar – Call your PA Rep & Senator and ask them to support HB 531 and SB 705. Recently introduced, this bill would allow residents who rent or who can’t afford to install rooftop solar to subscribe to shared solar projects and receive a credit back on their monthly bills. It has significant bipartisan support with about 64 co-sponsors in the House and 19 in the Senate. So call your state rep and ask them to support HB 531. While at it, please also call your state senator and ask them to support the companion SB 705. Affordable solar means clean energy for all. Which translates to lower carbon emissions. Who wouldn’t like this?

Lift the Cap on Energy Efficiency – Call your PA Representation and Senator, and ask them to support HB 193 and SB 232. Both bills would lift the cap on energy efficiency investment by utilities.

A report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), Lifting the Cap, tells us about the dramatic surge in jobs that  Pennsylvania could achieve by lifting its artificial cap on energy efficiency investment by the utilities. Under current law, that cap acts as an arbitrary barrier to energy savings and the associated economic benefits. ACEEE evaluated the economic impacts of a scenario unconstrained by an investment cap. And they found that this could create more than 30,000 jobs, a 50% increase.

The House bill, HB 193 was introduced by Representative Quinn and 6 others.  The Senate bill, SB 232 was introduced by Senators Killion, Laughlin, and Kearney and 11 others.

Ban Polystyrene (AKA Styrofoam) Containers – This would prohibit food establishments from using polystyrene containers to package prepared foods. And was introduced as House Bill 627 by Representative Tim Briggs. Your state representative needs to support HB 627. 

Polystyrene is a problem for several reasons. First, it is suspected to be toxic to humans, containing carcinogens and neurotoxins. Since styrofoam is often used as an insulator for hot foods, when heated, these toxins can be released into our food and absorbed into our bloodstream and tissues. Second, non-humans don’t recognize styrofoam as an artificial material and mistake it for food, which causes them harm if they eat it in significant quantities. As it is light, it blows in the wind and floats on water. Berkeley, CA banned styrofoam containers as early as 1987. 

Limit Plastic Straw Use – This bill to prohibit establishments from offering plastic straws, but would allow them to respond to customer requests for straws. introduced as House Bill 1176 by Representative Mary Jo Daley, you want your state representative to support HB 1176

What’s so bad about plastic straws? One, it’s a single-use plastic product. Two, straws end up in the nostrils and bellies of sea creatures, starving them of the nutrients they need to survive. 

Force protestors to pay for police costs – Lancaster County’s Senator Scott Martin is the lead sponsor of SB 323,  designed to discourage the free exercise of first amendment rights by forcing protesters to reimburse any emergency response costs associated with their protest. Please ask your state senator to oppose SB 323. #StopSB323

Page last updated: July 7, 2019