The Mark UP

Big divide on environment, clean energy in Pennsylvania’s Senate race

Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) this week won Pennsylvania’s GOP Senate primary, setting up a general election matchup against incumbent Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.). Since his first year in Congress, Barletta has voted to weaken the environmental protections that keep our land, air, and water safe and clean, racking up enough anti-environment votes to earn an embarrassing lifetime score of just five percent on the League of Conservation Voters’ National Environmental Scorecard.

In 2016, Barletta voted to roll back critical protections for American waterways, and last year, he voted to repeal the Stream Protection Rule, which would have protected communities from the risks associated with toxic waste from coal mining.

Casey, on the other hand, works to protect the rivers, lakes, and streams that provide drinking water and other natural resources to communities in Pennsylvania and across the country. He is also working hard to increase transparency in the fracking industry and help reduce the risks that fracked gas poses to local communities.

File:Somerset Wind Farm.jpg

Somerset Wind Farm in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania is a national leader in clean energy jobs. According to a 2017 report by Environmental Entrepreneurs, the Commonwealth is home to nearly 70,000 jobs in energy efficiency and renewable energy, twice as many as in the fossil fuel industry.

By siding with a fringe group of climate change deniers, though, Barletta leaves Pennsylvanians and all American communities poorly positioned to reap the benefits of a 21st century clean energy economy and unprepared for the destructive impacts of climate change. He voted to abandon the previous administration’s air protections, including the Clean Power Plan, that would cut back on climate change-causing pollution and help create clean energy jobs. He also applauded the Trump administration’s reckless decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement, ceding global leadership and making the U.S. a global pariah on climate action.

Pennsylvanians have a lot to gain from a future with common-sense environmental safeguards and ambitious plans to address climate change. Voting this November to re-elect Sen. Bob Casey is a vote for that future.