by Peter Wray, Conservation Committee Co-Chair
Federal Energy Bill
At this time of writing, Congress is busy reconciling the Senate and House
versions of the 2007 Energy bill. The House version contains strong
measures for renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, and the
Senate version has a 35 mpg by 2020 auto fuel economy measure. If
Congress fails to pass an energy bill in 2007, it is possible that
Presidential electioneering will delay a bill until 2009. The Sierra Club
met recently with Rep. Mike Doyle and the local staff of Reps. Altmire and
Murtha, urging prompt action.
Climate Change Bill
While Congress wrestled with an energy bill that for the first time is not
written by the extractive industries, the Senate began serious
consideration of a climate change bill. On October 18 Senators Lieberman
and Warner introduced a bill that sets out a goal of reducing capped
emissions 15 percent by 2020 and 70 percent by 2050. To meet the
requirements set by the science of global warming, environmentalists hope
to improve the bill by reducing emissions two percent per year to a final
reduction of 80 pct by 2050. To learn more about Global Warming and
Energy, visit www.sierraclub.org/globalwarming.
Mon-Fayette Toll Road
At the moment it seems doubtful that the Turnpike Commission will be able
to find the more than three billion dollars it needs to extend the
Mon-Fayette Toll Road into Pittsburgh. However, we should never
underestimate the resourcefulness of the toll way’s supporters. That is
why we are carefully watching the current proposals to privatize the main
line of the Turnpike, and the tolling of I-80. Monies earned by such
moves are aimed at repairing existing roads and bridges, but there may
eventually be some fine print somewhere that allocates $$$ for the
Present owner Chuck Betters has appealed DEP’s denial of his mining
permit. Until a decision is made on that appeal, all is quiet in Hays
Liquid Coal in Clairton
A proposal for a coal-to-liquid plant in Clairton seems to be stalled.
The contract to use coal waste from Jefferson Hills as feedstock for the
plant has been rescinded, and the Allegheny County Council decided to hold
a public hearing before taking any action on a Coal-to-Liquid resolution.
Allegheny National Forest Wilderness
The U.S. Forest Service in March recommended a mere 13,000 additional
wilderness acres as part of their newly revised Forest Plan. The Sierra
Club recommends 54,460 acres as outlined in the Citizens’ Wilderness
Proposal for Pennsylvania’s Allegheny National Forest (www.pawild.org).
The ball is now in Congress’ court. Please write to your U.S. Rep. to ask
them to support the full Citizens’ Wilderness Proposal legislatively. Also
send copies of your letter to Sens. Casey and Specter, and Governor
Rendell. For more information, contact Kirk Johnson at
email@example.com or 814-723-0620.