Environmental advocates hope state lawmakers will address climate change in 2021

Written by on January 5, 2021

Environmental advocates hope state lawmakers will address climate change in 2021

By Rachel McDevitt

January 5, 2021

The Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. Russ Walker / PA Pos

Environmentalists hope some bipartisan efforts that haven’t become law will get another chance in 2021. Advocates, however, question whether lawmakers have the will to do it.

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David Hess, former Secretary of Environmental Protection, says lawmakers need to have a much broader discussion on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

It would be controversial, but, “There are tools around to do it, if people want to really show some leadership and deal with the issue instead of having people politically posture all over the place,” he says.

Ezra Thrush, Director of Government Affairs at PennFuture in Harrisburg, says because the make-up of the legislature didn’t change with the November election, Republicans remain in control of both chambers. He expects repeats of past efforts, such as regulatory rollbacks.

“‘Past is prologue’ is a lot of what I say happens in Harrisburg,” Thrush says, “We’ll likely see some more fossil fuel subsidies and giveaways to fracked gas and petrochemical industries, so we’ll keep fighting back on defense,” he says. 

Additionally, he anticipates more argument over joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative but hopes bipartisan measures to improve water quality, allow community-scale solar projects, and to guide electric vehicle infrastructure development will make it into law.

Republican leadership hasn’t commented on what its legislative priorities will be.

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