Pennsylvania Constitution. Article I, Section 27 says: “The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.” Unfortunately, Bradford County’s legislators in Harrisburg, Senator Gene Yaw, and Representatives Tina Pickett and Clint Owlett, haven’t received the message. Despite EPA ranking Pennsylvania with the 12th highest level of industrial toxins and pollution health risk, and having the 3rd highest cancer rate in the nation; despite the 4th highest greenhouse gas emissions; and despite the impairment of 1/3 of our lakes and 1/5 of our streams, not one of them has cast a pro-environment vote in the past two years.
“To hold our legislators accountable, the Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter in collaboration with PennEnvironment, Clean Water Action, and the Conservation Voters of PA, recently compiled the 2019-2020 Pennsylvania Environmental Scorecard which details the most crucial environmental votes that have taken place in the Pennsylvania General Assembly during the current session. The votes scored included bills such as:
) HB 732, a $670 million tax credit for the petrochemical facilities that use
natural gas produced in Pennsylvania. This bill would increase fracking, the level of greenhouse gases emissions and other industrial pollution.
) SB 790, which would roll back regulations for the conventional oil and gas industry to 1984 standards.
) HB 2025, which prevents Pennsylvania from regulating carbon pollution.
) HB 1822, which would halt funding for some of Pennsylvanian’s most important environmental programs, including programs that preserve the state’s threatened family farms, fund state and local parks, support local recycling programs, and help protect and restore Pennsylvania’s rivers and streams.”1
Senator Yaw and Representatives Pickett and Owlett all scored 0%, meaning they voted for the anti-environmental side of every issue, against Pennsylvanians’ right to clean air and water. While the Republican averages for the entire Senate and House were an alarming 3%. In contrast, Democrats scored 83% pro-environment in both chambers. Clearly if you want legislators who will uphold your constitutional rights you need to seek out and vote for candidates who support Article I, Section 27. All of our state legislators are up for reelection this November. Now is the time to vote for change.