Posting every Friday at noon is how I act in solidarity with young climate strikers all over the world who want their elders to save their future.
I wrote to Senator Bob Casey to ask him what he was doing about climate change. I’m not too interested in what he is saying about it. Two months later I received a letter back. He said:
As a member of the Environmental Justice Caucus, I will continue to work with my colleagues to address the legacy of environmental injustice in frontline communities and to advance bold climate solutions that prioritize the health of our communities.
I looked up the Environmental Justice Caucus. They do have a Twitter account with less followers than I have. But I did not find out too much more. So that might not be going too far.
He also said,
If done properly, our national climate change policy will reduce greenhouse gas pollution to the levels scientifically proven necessary, while strengthening jobs, re-energizing the manufacturing sector in Pennsylvania, and revitalizing our Nation’s and the world’s economies. Please be assured that I will keep your views in mind as I continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate to develop legislation that will help Pennsylvania’s workers, economy, and environment.
National climate change policy?
I researched what the “national climate change policy” might be.
At the EPA website I discovered Executive Order 14008 from January 27. Biden got going on climate change not long after he was inaugurated. One thing the EPA is doing “pursuant” to Biden’s order is figuring out how to best adapt to the climate disasters in progress such as fires and floods associated with extreme weather.
As far as Congress goes, it might just give me an anniversary present on Dec. 13 when Chuck Schumer intends to bring the Build Back Better bill up for a Senate vote. There is powerful opposition to some of the climate provisions, so we will see what happens. This would be a good time to talk to your senators. Here are some of those provisions:
- The Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP) will pay utilities to switch from greenhouse gas-emitting electricity sources, such as coal and natural gas, to non-emitting sources such as wind, solar, hydropower and nuclear. New gas power plants could still be built if they have costly systems to capture their carbon emissions. But the plan mostly favors renewable and nuclear power. Coal would take the biggest hit. The plan would eliminate coal-fired electricity by 2030.
- There is $13.5 billion in the bill for more electric vehicle charging stations and for the conversion of trucks to electric. This investment, combined with a proposed $7,500 tax credit for electric vehicles, could mean 61% of total vehicles sales in 2030 would be EVs.
- There is also a proposed fee on methane, or natural gas, that’s a big concern for oil companies.
He is a sure vote for Build Back Better
About a year ago Casey was on a 300-person Zoom hookup sponsored by PennEnvironment, a statewide environmental organization. There were a couple of things he emphasized that show what he is interested in doing:
- “Agriculture is the top Pennsylvania industry and our farmers are dealing with floods, drought and pests as the front-line managers of land in the state. Forty-eight of the 67 counties are considered rural, so it’s essential to have our farmers at the table and have their support for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
- Many participants on the call voiced their opposition to hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” in the state’s Marcellus and Utica shale gas regions (PennEnvironment wants it banned). Senator Casey will not talk about banning it, but said, “I support responsible gas extraction, including tough regulation at the federal and state levels and the resources that that level of regulation requires.” He has repeatedly offered the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals (FRAC) Act for approval since 2009, which would require oil and gas companies to disclose chemicals used in the fracking process and allow the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate and monitor those operations. It has not passed.
- Senator Casey introduced the Restore Environmental Vitality and Improve Volatile Economy by the Civilian Conservation Corps of 2021, or the REVIVE the CCC Act (S.2414). He wants to revitalize the 1930s-era Civilian Conservation Corps into a modern-day employment, job training and conservation program. The act would advance efforts to tackle the climate crisis while creating well-paying, quality conservation jobs that “protect and restore waterways, working lands and the health and resiliency of our rural and urban communities. My legislation would renew vital efforts to bring conservation jobs to our communities, invest in our local economies and ensure farmers continue to play a critical role in climate change mitigation. It is past time for us to take action to address the climate crisis and create jobs while we do it,”
- I was interested in the groups listed as sponsors of his bill. I am especially interested in the two groups of evangelicals and the two groups of farmers.
“The REVIVE the CCC Act is endorsed by: Accompanying Returning Citizens with Hope, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Evangelical Environmental Network, Forest Hills Borough Council, Keystone Research Center, National Wildlife Federation, National Young Farmers Coalition, PASA Sustaintable Agriculture, PennFuture, ReImagine Appalachia Coalition, The Corps Network, West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy and Young Evangelicals for Climate Action.”
I hope you already understand more about the process of government than I do. I am convinced that its monopoly on power either helps the planet recover or propels us into deeper disaster. So I am trying to understand.
As a Jesus follower, I think it is my duty to care. So I am wondering how to do that in new ways, since my church does not appear to be super-interested (and that may be typical of most churches). There are many organizations that do care, however. I have already joined a few in a small way. If I want to be part of getting Senator Casey’s attention, it is apparently better to come in the name of a group of like-minded people.