Thursday, February 28, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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POWER INTERFAITH REACTS TO GOVERNOR WOLF’S ADDRESS TO LAWMAKERS TO ANNOUNCE ACTIONS TO PRIORITIZE ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
PHILADELPHIA, PA – Today Gov. Tom Wolf presented an executive order to permanently establish the Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ), formalizing the Environmental Justice Advisory Board and Environmental Justice Interagency Council.
POWER Interfaith applauds Governor Wolf for using the tools of government to prioritize environmental justice, racial justice, and the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians. He acknowledged that Pennsylvania has not always lived up to its constitutional promise of “clean air, pure water into the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic, and aesthetic values of the environment,” and that low-income communities and communities of color have borne a disproportionate share of harmful environmental damage.
POWER Interfaith’s Climate Justice committee is pleased that the Governor’s order includes a holistic and intersectional lens to repairing our shared environment and continues to address the consequences of environmental racism in the work, responding to calls from organizing groups like ours and in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus.
The Wolf administration and champions in the legislature have demonstrated commitment to supporting thriving PA communities through his historic effort to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
For too long we have been held back by legislators who engage in obstructionist politics, willing to do anything, including holding hostage vacancies on the Public Utility Commission. We call on the legislature to get out of the way of a just transition and support the Governor’s administration in prioritizing environmental justice.
“This moment is an enormous opportunity to reduce the disastrous impacts of the climate crisis while investing in a transition to a regenerative economy. We commend the Governor’s commitment to prioritizing justice in this transition and call on the legislature to wake up to the urgency of this moment. This is the time for bold leadership - our communities cannot wait any longer for clean air, clean water, or a clean environment. We all deserve to thrive.” - Bishop Dwayne Royster, POWER Interfaith Executive Director.
“We thank Governor Wolf for his commitment to environmental justice reflected in the executive orders he issued today. We urge the Pennsylvania General Assembly to enact the legislation offered by the legislative Black Caucus to make this commitment to environmental justice permanent.Addressing environmental injustice will benefit people and communities across the commonwealth, from rural communities in central Pennsylvania whose drinking water has been damaged by fracking, to Black and Brown communities in our cities where air pollution contributes to much higher rates of asthma and cancer. Environmental justice requires addressing climate justice, a just transition to clean energy. We continue to support the Governor’s initiative to have the Commonwealth participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Despite legislative opposition, RGGI is an important step in addressing Pennsylvania’s significant contribution to climate change and more importantly will have a huge direct impact on clean air and healthy communities across Pennsylvania. - Bill Cozzens, chair of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) working group
“I appreciate Governor Wolf’s commitment to environmental justice with these executive actions. He gave us the opportunity to partner around the nominations for the vacant seats of the Public Utility Commission. Still, unfortunately, fossil fuel interest in the legislature has decided to hold these two vacant seats hostage, because the Governor decided to join RGGI (Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative). We are disappointed that so many legislators continue to stand in our way to address the harms of the climate crisis on communities across Pennsylvania.” - Charmaine Butler, chair of the Public Utility Working Group (PUC)
POWER Interfaith, a statewide racial and economic justice advocacy group, focused on increasing the civic power of people of faith and the issues impacting the most vulnerable across the state of Pennsylvania.