Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Clean Power Plan and You

     On August 3rd this year the Obama administration and the EPA announced a comprehensive energy plan to greatly reduce carbon emissions. This plan was designed to provide attainable emissions standards for states, allowing them flexible scheduling and management for reaching these goals. At the same time that states can tailor implementation of the law, they are still held accountable for any failure to do so. The Clean Power Plan was “shaped by years of unprecedented outreach and public engagement, the final Clean Power Plan is fair, flexible and designed to strengthen the fast-growing trend toward cleaner and lower-polluting American energy” (EPA).
     As many know already, climate legislation in this country is difficult to pass for multiple reasons. One reason has been concerns over a policy’s economic impact; a concern not without merit. That is why the Clean Power Plan kept these concerns in mind, combining a need for strong emissions controls with economic consideration. Attention to both these areas of concern has produced a piece of climate legislation that is not just reasonable for states to support, but necessary.

So what does this all mean going forward? It means…

  •  A cleaner and healthier future for our air 
    •  “In 2030, we’ll avoid up to 3,600 fewer premature deaths; 90,000 fewer asthma attacks in children; 1,700 fewer hospital admissions; and avoid 300,000 missed days of school and work” (McCarthy). 
  • Reduced carbon emissions 
    •  “the Plan puts our nation on track to cut carbon pollution from the power sector 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, all while keeping energy reliable and affordable” (McCarthy).
  •  America will save money 
    •  “By 2030, the net public health and climate-related benefits from the Clean Power Plan are estimated to be worth $45 billion every year. And, by design, the Clean Power Plan is projected to cut the average American’s monthly electricity bill by 7% in 2030” (McCarthy). 

     The Clean Power Plan is an opportunity for the United States to take a leadership role in the fight against climate change. This plan will be beneficial to more than just the average Americans’ wallet, but to the world at large. At 5490.63 million metric tons, the United States is currently one of the largest carbon emitters from energy consumption in the world (Scientists). The only country polluting more is China. Countries like China and India, the first and fourth highest carbon polluters, have not been quick to adopt policies to combat carbon pollution due to years of US indecision on the same issue.

     Supporting the Clean Power Plan would allow this country to take a step towards progressing through the twenty-first century as a major climate leader.

For more detailed information check these places  

Work Cited
 EPA. "Clean Power Plan." August 2015. Web. 11/3/2015 November 2015.

 McCarthy, Gina. "EPA Connect." 3 August 2015. Web. 3 November 2015.

 Scientists, Union of Concerned. "Each Country's Share of CO2 Emissions." 18 November 2014. Web. 3 November 2015.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Michael Mann - The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars

Come out see the world renowned climatologist speak:

Monday, November 9, 7:00 pm
Bonnell Auditorium, Community College of Philadelphia, 17th & Spring Garden

Michael Mann, Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Penn State University, will speak in Philadelphia Monday November 9 at the Community College of Philadelphia.

A central figure in the controversy over human-caused climate change has been "The Hockey Stick," a simple, easy-to-understand graph Prof Mann and his colleagues constructed to depict changes in Earth's temperature back to 1000 AD. The graph was featured in the high-profile "Summary for Policy Makers" of the 2001 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and it quickly became an icon in the debate over human-caused ("anthropogenic") climate change. On Nov 9, Prof Mann will tell the ongoing story behind the Hockey Stick, using it as a vehicle for exploring broader issues regarding the role of skepticism in science, the uneasy relationship between science and politics, and the dangers that arise when special economic interests and those who do their bidding attempt to skew the discourse over policy-relevant areas of science.

This event is free and open to the public. Organized by the Sierra Club and the Community College of Philadelphia's Coalition for a Sustainable Future.

For the latest news, click here to see the event announcement.

Sierra Club Southeastern PA Group
Community College of Philadelphia Coalition for a Sustainable Futur

Citizens’ Climate Lobby
Clean Air Council
Clean Water Action
Drexel Univeristy, Sierra Club
Green Cycle Alliance at Community College
Penn Future
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education
Temple Univ, Dept of Geography and Urban Studies
Univ of Penn, Student Sustainability Association Philly

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Hike at John Heinz Wildlife Refuge on Sunday, Sept. 20th

The Philly Beyond Coal group will join the William Way Center in a hike at John Heinz Wildlife Refuge on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015. We will meet at the Cusano Environmental Education Center at 10am, and take the 3.5 mile hike around the impoundment pond.  Afterward, we will have lunch, and the event should wrap up by 1pm.  This is a public event, and all are welcome.  However, please RSVP to, so that we can provide ample food and drink.

The event is accessible via public transportation using the Airport Line (former R1 train) to Eastwick station or SEPTA bus routes 37 and 108 (see Google maps for directions).
To enlarge click on the map.

Heinz Wildlife Refuge HIke with William Way Center

Monday, August 10, 2015

Beat the Heat Rally

On July 30 the Sierra Club attended the “Beat the Heat” rally held in front of Senator Casey's Philadelphia office. The rally was held to show support for the Clean Power Plan, the first federal standard on carbon pollution from power plants. Many supporters were able to voice their approval of the Clean Power Plan, with hopes for a cleaner future. beat the heat rally

Thursday, July 9, 2015

End Oil Trains Day - Philadelphia!

This Saturday will be End Oil Trains Day, with an event happening along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. The event is held in remembrance of 47 lives lost in Lac Megantic, Quebec CA when an oil train derailed in the residential section of the town. In addition to remembrance, the event will be promoting action against oil trains, focusing on the specific vulnerability of Philadelphia.
•    2:00 pm - Come together at the footbridge area next to the river
•    2:30 pm – Press Conference
•    3:00 pm – Remembrance of lives lost in Lac Megantic
•    3:15 pm – March for environmental justice and solidarity across our nations – New Orleans style procession with decorated umbrellas - bring your own! West Philadelphia Orchestra will lead the way!
•    3:30 pm through 5:00 pm - "Rainbow Bridge to Philly's Future" visual arts workshop  and info-graphics gallery for ages 5-adult.
•    - Rainbow balloon hanging
•    - Child-friendly oil train and rainbow of renewables pavement chalking
•    - Summer treats
•    Photo ops, brass marching band, outreach and creative happenings all day!

When: Saturday July 11, 2015   2:00pm-5:00pm
Where: Schuylkill River Trails Park, 25th and Spruce
What: End Oil Trains Day - Philadelphia!

More info can be found here

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

PennEnvironment Clean Water Rule Press Conference

    On Monday June 1st, PennEnvironment held a press conference at the Fairmount water works to show approval of the new EPA Clean Water Act expansion, The clean Water Rule. The event was attended by representatives of PennEnvironment, The Philadelphia Water Department, Sierra Club, Mom’s Clean AirForce, and Thomas Jefferson University's School of Population Health. Jim Kenney attended and spoke at the event, showing his support for the Clean Water Act expansion. The Clean Water Rule does the following as described from the EPA website.
    - Clearly defines and protects tributaries that impact the health of downstream waters. The Clean Water Act protects navigable waterways and their tributaries. The rule says that a tributary must show physical features of flowing water – a bed, bank, and ordinary high water mark – to warrant protection. The rule provides protection for headwaters that have these features and science shows can have a significant connection to downstream waters.

 - Provides certainty in how far safeguards extend to nearby waters. The rule protects waters that are next to rivers and lakes and their tributaries because science shows that they impact downstream waters. The rule sets boundaries on covering nearby waters for the first time that are physical and measurable.

 - Protects the nation’s regional water treasures. Science shows that specific water features can function like a system and impact the health of downstream waters. The rule protects prairie potholes, Carolina and Delmarva bays, pocosins, western vernal pools in California, and Texas coastal prairie wetlands when they impact downstream waters.

 - Focuses on streams, not ditches. The rule limits protection to ditches that are constructed out of streams or function like streams and can carry pollution downstream. So ditches that are not constructed in streams and that flow only when it rains are not covered.
  - Maintains the status of waters within Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems. The rule does not change how those waters are treated and encourages the use of green infrastructure.
 - Reduces the use of case-specific analysis of waters. Previously, almost any water could be put through a lengthy case-specific analysis, even if it would not be subject to the Clean Water Act. The rule significantly limits the use of case-specific analysis by creating clarity and certainty on protected waters and limiting the number of similarly situated water features.”

Although it was a cloudy morning with the threat of rain, people came to the Press Conference to show support. It was an informative Press Conference with an appropriate setting right alongside the Schuylkill River. Under the gray skies, the future for our waterways looks bright, as we continue to fight for their protection!

Coverage By The Press and On the Internet

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Greenworks Open House Wednesday, June 10

Greenworks is hosting an open house tomorrow to present and discuss the future of a sustainable Philadelphia.

From their registration page:
    "2015 marks the horizon of the Greenworks implementation timeline. The Mayor’s Office of Sustainability (MOS) is hosting an informal public open house for residents and partners to come and share feedback. We want your thoughts on progress to-date, missed opportunities, and new areas of focus going forward. 

   Your input will help us as we begin to shape a future sustainability plan, which we plan to develop in 2015 under the leadership of the next mayor.

   Feel free to drop in or stay for the duration. The run of show will be as follows:
5-5:30pm: Brief overviews of work to-date by MOS staff
5:30-7pm: Feedback sessions, by topics of interest
   We hope you can join us. This will be a terrific opportunity for you to share your thoughts and ideas in an informal atmosphere, meet MOS staff, and enjoy early-evening snacks with other Philadelphians interested in sustainability. (We also promise a great view of Dilworth Park!).

   If you plan to attend, please register so we know how many people to expect."

When: Wednesday, June 10, 2015 from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM (EDT)

Where: Municipal Services Building -- Innovation Lab
               1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd
               16th Floor
               Philadelphia, PA 19102

What: Greenworks Open House


Registration page can be found here here


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Rally for Clean Water Rule on Monday, June 1

We’re holding a press event highlighting the benefits of the EPA’s Waters of the US rule on June 1st with EPA Region 3 Administration Shawn Garvin at 11:30 AM on the banks of the Schuykill River.  The event will focus on the role this rule will play in protecting the drinking water for 8 million Pennsylvanians.   I’m hoping that you can join us for this event. Details are given below:
I’ll send out a full advisory and press release later this week for folks to look at and add a quote if they’d like. 
  • WHAT: Philadelphia Clean Water Rule Press Event
  • WHEN: Monday, June 1st at 11:30 AM
  • WHERE: Fairmount Waterworks, 640 Waterworks Dr., Philadelphia, PA 19130

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Stop the Pollution Exemption for Brunner Island Power Plant!

The Department of Environmental Protection has proposed a plan that will significantly reduce smog-causing pollution from most power plants in the state.  But it will not require any pollution reductions from the Brunner Island power plant!  We need to tell DEP and Governor Wolf that this is unacceptable.

Our next chance to do that will be at the Citizen's Advisory Council meeting on Tue, 4/21 at 10am at 400 Market Street in Harrisburg.  This committee has yet to provide a recommendation on the rule, and could still send DEP staff back to the drawing board.

Can you join us for the day in Harrisburg? Click HERE to volunteer to ride the van, drive the van, or meet us in Harrisburg.

As you know, the Susquehanna Valley suffers from dangerous levels of air pollution, earning an "F" from the American Lung Association, and failing to meet federal standards for smog.  The Brunner Island power plant is the largest polluter of smog-causing NOx in the region.  It is also the only large coal-fired power plant left in the state that has not installed state-of-the-art pollution controls for NOx.  This proposed rule would reward them for foot-dragging with an exemption from new stricter limits, rather than require them to install the controls their peers already have.  That means more smog for the Susquehanna Valley and southeastern PA.

On the bright side, DEP has responded to our concerns in the past.  The original version of the rule, published a year ago, did not require ANY coal-fired power plants to reduce their smog-causing pollution at all.  After public outcry and two revisions, most plants will have to reduce their pollution by up to 70%.  Let's make sure that Brunner Island is held to the same standard!

Please consider joining us for the day in Harrisburg. This could be our last best chance to affect the PA Smog Rule. If you are not comfortable with the online signup form, just reply to this email and let me know you are coming.

Jim Wylie

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Beyond Coal Philadelphia KXL and MLKJ!

January in our nation's fifth largest city proved to be most busy, with marches, rallies and social events.  On January 13, we partnered with our favorite partners-in-good, 350 Philly, to give a grassroots response to a misguided court decision!

Nearly 100 activists showed up for a march that was too wide for the sidewalk as planned.  So, Philly's finest cleared JFK Blvd, during rush hour, and we made our way to Senator Casey's doorstep, chanting and singing the whole way.

Sierra Club Beyond Coal Philadelphia has been a shining example of the City of Brotherly Love, with a sizable and active African American and Military Veteran volunteer base.  On January 19, the MLKJ March allowed us to show our social justice partners that the environmental movement stands by their side!

More to come from Philly!