Earth Day is quickly approaching, and if you scan the web, you will find a myriad of venues where you can celebrate the day – from the Prince Theater and the Constitution Center to various parks, and oddly enough, a number of breweries. There are a variety of activities at these forums, ranging from arts, crafts, environmental games, and films, to fun runs, clean ups, and plantings.
Earth Day, at its inception, had been an enjoyable experience, while reminding us that both as individuals and as a collective body, we have the ability and the responsibility to create a healthier planet by improving the state of our immediate surroundings.
Over the years, however, a lot of the Earth Day message has been lost. Many of these events now display energy saving tips while marketing a number of “environmentally friendly” products. Many events that I have attended over the years have showcased fossil fuel companies and utilities attempting to “scrub” their image as corporate polluters. Although you might find references to global warming, polluted waterways, and non-renewable energy at these events, you will generally not find any attempt to connect the dots between these problems and their major causes.
After China, the United States is the second largest polluter in the world, producing over 5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide a year.
Pennsylvania is the third largest carbon dioxide emitter in the country, producing 233 million metric tons a year – over 5% of the total emissions in the United States.
There are certainly a number of factors that play a role in this ranking, but it correlates with Pennsylvania’s role as the third largest energy production state in the country.
As a major regulator of the fossil fuel industry, the Pennsylvania State government holds the power to confine these emissions to reasonable levels.
Rather than improve upon the environmental legislation already in existence, our legislature has consistently attempted to roll back the legislation currently on the books. The most recent State environmental scorecard, created by a coalition composed of Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania, Clean Water Action, the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Sierra Club, and PennEnvironment shows the voting records of the State legislators during the 2015-2016 session, which I have included at the end of this post.
Although the incumbents may have changed, a cursory glance will expose a clear pattern. Democrats are much more likely to vote for environmentally friendly legislation than Republicans. At the House level, the Democrat’s median score on environmental legislation was 82% favorable to the environment versus. 9% for Republicans. The most frequent Democratic score was 100% (n=29) whereas the most frequent Republican score was 0%. (n=53). On the Senate side, the median was 60% for Democrats and 20% for Republicans.
Activists need to take note of these numbers and set the constituents straight when legislators such as Todd Stephens boast about their environmental records.
(Please note that the following scorecard might not reflect current incumbents).
PA HOUSENAMEHOUSE DISTRICTPARTY2015/2016 SCORENAMEHOUSE DISTRICTPARTY2015/2016 SCOREAcosta, Leslie197D91%Kortz, William38D45%Adolph, William165R0%Kotik, Nick45D18%Baker, Matthew68R9%Krueger-Braneky, Leanne161D100%Barbin, Bryan71D36%Lawrence, John13R0%Barrar, Stephen160R9%Lewis, Harry74R9%Benninghoff, Kerry171R0%Longietti, Mark7D55%Bizzarro, Ryan3D36%Mackenzie, Ryan134R18%Bloom, Stephen199R0%Maher, John40R0%Boback, Karen117R50%Mahoney, Tim51D45%Boyle, Kevin172D100%Major, Sandra111R0%Bradford, Matthew70D100%Maloney, David130R18%Briggs, Tim149D100%Markosek, Joseph25D82%Brown, Rosemary189R18%Marshall, Jim14R18%Brown, Vanessa190D73%Marsico, Ron105R0%Bullock, Donna195D100%Masser, Kurt107R9%Burns, Frank72D36%Matzie, Robert16D55%Caltagirone, Thomas127D91%McCarter, Stephen154D100%Carroll, Mike118D100%McClinton, Joanna191D100%Causer, Martin67R0%McGinnis, John79R9%Christiana, Jim15R0%McNeill, Daniel133D55%Cohen, Mark202D91%Mentzer, Steven97R0%Conklin, Scott77D100%Metcalfe, Daryl12R0%Cook-Artis,Tonyelle200D73%Metzgar, Carl69R9%Corbin, Becky155R18%Miccarelli, Nick162R18%Costa, Dom21D45%Millard, David109R9%Costa, Paul34D36%Miller, Brett41R9%Cox, Jim129R18%Miller, Dan42D100%Cruz, Angel180D82%Milne, Duane167R27%Culver, Lynda108R9%Moul, Dan91R0%Cutler, Bryan100R0%Mullery, Gerald119D100%Daley, Mary Jo148D100%Murt, Thomas152R55%Daley, Peter49D36%Mustio, Mark44R0%Davidson, Margo164D100%Neilson, Ed174D50%Davis, Tina141D100%Nelson, Eric57R9%Dawkins, Jason179D73%Nesbit, Tedd8R0%Day, Gary187R9%Neuman, Brandon48D36%Dean, Madeleine153D100%O’Brien, Michael175D100%Deasy, Daniel27D73%O’Neill, Bernie29R9%DeLissio, Pamela194D100%Oberlander, Donna63R0%Delozier, Sheryl88R9%Ortitay, Jason46R0%DeLuca, Anthony32D27%Parker, David115R27%Dermody, Frank33D36%Pashinski, Eddie121D82%Diamond, Russ102R9%Payne, John106R0%DiGirolamo, Gene18R73%Peifer, Michael139R18%Donatucci, Maria185D73%Petrarca, Joseph55D55%Driscoll, Michael173D91%Petri, Scott178R18%Dunbar, George56R9%Pickett, Tina110R9%Dush, Cris66R0%Pyle, Jeffrey60R9%Ellis, Brian11R0%Quigley, Thomas146R9%Emrick, Joe137R9%Quinn, Marguerite143R36%English, Harold30R18%Rader, Jack176R18%Evankovich, Eli54R0%Rapp, Kathy65R0%Evans, Dwight203D64%Ravenstahl, Adam20D82%Everett, Garth84R0%Readshaw, Harry36D45%Fabrizio, Florindo2D73%Reed, Dave62R0%Farina, Frank112D45%Reese, Mike59R9%Farry, Frank142R18%Regan, Mike92R0%Fee, Mindy37R0%Roae, Brad6R0%Flynn, Marty113D45%Roebuck, James188D80%Frankel, Dan23D100%Ross, Chris158R9%Freeman, Robert136D100%Rothman, Greg87R9%Gabler, Matt75R0%Rozzi, Mark126D82%Gainey, Ed24D100%Saccone, Rick39R9%Galloway, John140D91%Sainato, Chris9D36%Gergely, Marc35D36%Samuelson, Steve135D100%Gibbons, Jaret10D18%Sankey, Tommy73R0%Gillen, Mark128R27%Santarsiero, Steven31D100%Gillespie, Keith47R9%Santora, James163R9%Gingrich, Mauree101R0%Savage, Lynwood192D9%Godshall, Robert53R0%Saylor, Stan94R0%Goodman, Neal123D45%Schemel, Paul90R9%Greiner, Keith43R9%Schlossberg, Michael132D91%Grove, Seth196R0%Schreiber, Kevin95D100%Hahn, Marcia138R18%Schweyer, Peter22D82%Hanna, Michael76D64%Simmons, Justin131R9%Harhai, Tedd58D55%Sims, Brian182D73%Harhart, Julie183R9%Snyder, Pam50D36%Harkins, Patrick1D100%Sonney, Curtis4R0%Harper, Kate61R27%Staats, Craig145R9%Harris, Adam82R0%Stephens, Todd151R0%Harris, Jordan186D82%Sturla, Michael96D91%Heffey, Doyle122R0%Tallman, Will193R0%Helm, Susan104R9%Taylor, John177R18%Hennessey, Tim26R0%Thomas, W. Curtis181D36%Hickernell, David98R0%Tobash, Mike125R0%Hill, Kristin93R0%Toepel, Marcy147R27%Irvin, Rich81R0%Toohil, Tarah116R0%James, R. Lee64R9%Topper, Jesse78R0%Jozwiak, Barry5R18%Truitt, Dan156R64%Kampf, Warren157R0%Turzai, Mike28R0%Kaufer, Aaron120R18%Vereb, Mike150R0%Kauffman, Robert89R0%Vitali, Greg166D100%Kavulich, Sid114D64%Ward, Judy80R0%Keller, Fred85R9%Warner, Ryan52R0%Keller, Mark86R9%Watson, Katharine144R18%Keller, William184D64%Wentling, Parke17R0%Kim, Patty103D100%Wheatley, Jake19D73%Kinsey, Stephen201D100%Wheeland, Jeff83R0%Kirkland, Thaddeus159D100%White, Martina170R9%Klunk, Kate169R0%Youngblood, Rosita198D100%Knowles, Jerry124R9%Zimmerman, David99R9%
PA SENATENAMESENATE DISTRICTPARTY2015/2016 SCORENAMESENATE DISTRICTPARTY2015/2016 SCOREAlloway, Richard33R20%McGarrigle, Thomas26R20%Argall, David29R20%McIlhinney, Charles10R60%Aument, Ryan36R0%Mensch, Bob24R20%Baker, Lisa20R20%Rafferty, John44R20%Bartolotta, Camera46R0%Reschenthaler, Guy37R0%Blake, John22D60%Sabatina, John5D40%Boscola, Lisa18D60%Scarnati, Joseph25R20%Brewster, James45D40%Scavello, Mario40R20%Brooks, Michele50R0%Schwank, Judith11D100%Browne, Patrick16R20%Smucker, Lloyd13R20%Corman, Jake34R20%Stefano, Patrick32R20%Costa, Jay43D40%Tartaglione, Christine2D40%Dinniman, Andrew19D100%Teplitz, Rob15D100%Eichelberger, John30R20%Tomlinson, Robert6R20%Farnese, Lawrence1D80%Vance, Patricia31R20%Folmer, Mike48R20%Vogel, Elder47R20%Fontana, Wayne42D40%Vulakovich, Randy38R20%Gordner, John27R20%Wagner, Scott28R20%Greenleaf, Stewart12R60%Ward, Kim39R20%Haywood, Art4D100%White, Donald41R20%Hughes, Vincent7D100%Wiley, Sean49D100%Hutchinson, Scott21R0%Williams, Anthony8D40%Killion, Thomas †9R40%Wozniak, John35D40%Kitchen, Shirley3D100%Yaw, Gene23R20%Leach, Daylin17D40%Yudichak, John14D40%