Governor Wolf’s First Term Marks Substantial Shift for Pennsylvania’s Energy, Environment
January 08, 2019
Harrisburg, PA – Since taking office, Governor Tom Wolf has worked to protect Pennsylvania’s air, water, and land through smarter energy policy and conservation. Today following the signing of a new executive order establishing the first statewide air pollution goal, he pledged to continue to make Pennsylvania an environmental leader in his second term.
“Since coming to office I have been a strong advocate for the environment and have worked to make sure all Pennsylvanians have clean air and pure water,” said Governor Wolf. “Pennsylvania has seen major reductions in pollution since I came to office. Our focus on increased reliance on clean energy, improved energy efficiency, and improved oversight of emissions of potent greenhouse gases such as methane, have all been critical in helping to move Pennsylvania forward.”
Governor Wolf’s efforts over the past four years, including working in a bipartisan manner with the General Assembly, and environmental advocates, have resulted in increased protections for Pennsylvania’s resources:
- Moved forward with a Methane Reduction Strategy, including finalizing some of the first permits in the nation to set a threshold on methane emissions from new unconventional gas wells and other infrastructure, and proposing new regulations to reduce methane emissions from existing wells and infrastructure.
- Began implementing a plan to use the $118 million settlement from Volkswagen to reduce air pollution from cars, trucks, and other diesel-powered equipment.
- Fought the Trump Administration’s attempts to gut environmental laws and regulations and defund critical environmental programs and the EPA.
- Hired additional staff for the Safe Drinking Water program to ensure Pennsylvanian’s drinking water is clean and safe.
- Provided enhanced protections to dozens of streams across Pennsylvania in order to reduce pollution, protect aquatic life, and provide recreational opportunities for anglers and tubers alike.
- Formed the PFAS Action Team in September 2018. Led by DEP Sec. Patrick McDonnell, this multi-agency team is taking proactive steps to identify possible contamination and address health concerns for Pennsylvanians.
- Secured funding for communities stricken by the 2018 floods, and provided clearer guidance for residents and municipalities on how to manage streams and rivers to prevent flooding.
- Achieved unprecedented progress toward 2025 water pollution reduction goals through new levels of partnership and innovation.
Clean Energy Jobs
- Signed legislation that enables low-cost, long-term funding for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation upgrades to commercial or industrial properties.
- Released a plan to increase solar power across Pennsylvania to 10 percent of total production by 2030.
- Signed legislation to expand of the use of solar energy across the commonwealth, while ensuring that the environmental and health benefits of solar energy are experienced in Pennsylvania.
- Retooled the state’s Solar Energy Program to include grant funding to help make Pennsylvania a leader in clean energy.
Modernization, Remediation, and Sustainability
- Increased oil and gas drilling inspections after switch to electronic process in 2017.
- Secured increased funding for the Department of Environmental Protection in order to help it fulfill its mission of protecting Pennsylvania’s air, land, and water from pollution and to providing for the health and safety of its citizens through a cleaner environment.
- Moved forward with enhanced building codes to help save Pennsylvanian’s money on utilities, improve energy efficiency, and enhance safety.
- Reinstated a moratorium on oil and gas development on state parks and forests.
- Awarded more than $60 million in grants to communities and businesses to improve and restore streams and watersheds, repair abandoned mine damage, improve water and sewer infrastructure, and switch to cleaner vehicles.
- Approved millions in funding to reclaim and restore abandoned mine lands for the benefit of the environment and local economies.
In addition to the Wolf Administration’s first term accomplishments, the governor vowed to continue to take meaningful steps to address climate change, while helping to create good paying jobs in the clean energy sector and be a responsible steward of taxpayer dollars by:
- Continuing to work to streamline permitting by utilizing technology such as e-permitting and continual process improvements to ensure that the regulated community receives permit decisions in a predictable, timely manner, while Pennsylvania’s critical environment protections are maintained.
- Finalizing a strong Watershed Implementation Plan to support Pennsylvania farmers and communities in improving local water quality.
- Participating in the regional Transportation Climate Initiative to develop the clean energy economy and reduce oil dependence and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.
- Moving forward with implementation of recommendations of the PA Solar Future Plan.
- Supporting the implementation of Pennsylvania’s Climate Action Plan, which will be released shortly and contains numerous strategies to address climate change impacts and reduce emissions within various sectors of Pennsylvania’s economy.