DEP Presents Climate Change Action Plan Update
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has announced that a Climate Change Action Plan Update was submitted to Gov. Tom Corbett and the state legislature on Dec. 31.
The plan identifies successful initiatives undertaken by Pennsylvania to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) and outlines possible strategies for the continued lowering of emissions.
“As this plan shows, Pennsylvanians can be proud of the progress we are all making toward improving air quality and addressing climate change,” DEP Secretary Chris Abruzzo said. “Much of this success can be attributed to expanding the use and availability of renewable and alternative energy sources, higher standards for mobile and stationary sources of emissions and DEP’s continued commitment to effective programs.”
The plan highlights several of Pennsylvania’s emission-reduction efforts, including:
- DEP implementing new, more stringent requirements for the natural gas industry that are reducing methane emissions. Pennsylvania is the first state to require leak detection and repair over the entire well site to minimize emissions.
- Corbett signing Act 13 of 2012, providing $20 million from natural gas operator impact fees for the purchase or retrofit of heavy-duty vehicles to operate on natural gas. It is projected that these projects will displace 3.67 million gallons of gasoline each year.
- DEP providing, through the Alternative Fuel Incentive Grant Program, $3 million for Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) rebates for Pennsylvania consumers since 2011. In addition, another $1 million has been committed for AFV rebates in 2014 to support plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and electric vehicles as well as other AFVs purchased and registered by Pennsylvanians.
- DEP reimbursing $5.5 million in solar rebates to homeowners and small businesses, resulting in energy savings, reduction in heating fuel consumption and reduction in GHG emissions since January 2013.
- Providing $46.5 million, since 2011, through the Keystone Home Energy Loan Program to Pennsylvania homeowners looking to implement energy efficiencies.
- Preservation of forests and open space through forest protection easements and acquisition. Act 13 provided the first infusion of money into the Growing Greener Program since 2005, as well as providing over $20 million annually in new park, open space and recreation funding.
Due to Pennsylvania’s efforts over the last decade, according to EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory, the state’s GHGs are expected to be lower in 2020 than in 2000, with reductions in the residential, commercial, transportation, agriculture and waste sectors.
“Each one of us can play a role in helping to reduce our emissions footprint,” Abruzzo said. “Pennsylvania is committed to working with other states and nations to address this global issue.”
The Pennsylvania Climate Change Advisory Committee provided advice to DEP for the completion of the Climate Change Action Plan Update. The committee consists of representatives from the legislature, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Department of Community and Economic Development and the Public Utility Commission as well as Pennsylvania residents with interest, knowledge or expertise regarding climate change.
The Pennsylvania Climate Change Act of 2008 requires DEP to submit an updated Climate Change Action Plan to the governor every three years. The report updates the original Climate Change Action Plan that was issued by DEP in December 2009.
To read the Climate Change Action Plan, visit www.dep.state.pa.us click the “Public Participation Center” button, “Advisory Committees,” then “Climate Change Advisory Committee.”