Energy. Environment. Economy.

Casey tells Obama administration: climate plan an unfair burden for Pa.

Sen. Bob Casey is criticizing the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan.

Emma Lee/NewsWorks/WHYY

Sen. Bob Casey is criticizing the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan.

Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Casey says the Obama administration’s plan to tackle climate change by cutting carbon emissions from power plants would place an unfair burden on Pennsylvania.

The overall goal is to cut emissions by 30 percent nationwide by the year 2030. States will be directed to craft plans to meet their own specific targets.

Pennsylvania – the nation’s third-largest emitter of carbon dioxide and fourth-largest coal producer – would be required to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by about 32 percent over the next 15 years.

Casey’s comments were part of a 22-page letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy. In the letter, he supports the general mission of the EPA’s proposal to stem the impacts of climate change, which Casey says would negatively effect public health and national security.

“So for all these reasons, we must reject the status quo and look in the other direction, our clean energy future in which we rise to the challenge of climate change…,” he writes.

However, Casey finds fault with how the plan would impact Pennsylvania.

More from the Associated Press:

He said Pennsylvania is being tasked with substantially increasing renewable energy such as wind or solar power, even though federal data show that the state is technically limited compared to other states to do so.

Mr. Casey also said the EPA plan fails to credit Pennsylvania for clean power sources such as existing hydropower and nuclear power. And he said the proposal does not take into account the environmental value of Pennsylvania plants that provide energy by burning coal refuse, which otherwise would litter the state’s landscape.

Pennsylvania relies on coal for about 40 percent of its electricity, with another 35 percent from nuclear, and 21 percent from natural gas.

“If waste-coal power plants did not exist to remove the legacy coal refuse piles, then greater potential exists for uncontrolled releases of carbon and other harmful air pollution,” Mr. Casey said, adding that those plants have saved the state’s taxpayers between $100 million and $200 million in potential cleanup costs.

Casey’s Republican counterpart, U.S. Senator Pat Toomey has also criticized the plan for being “hostile” on the state’s coal industry.

Read Casey’s letter below:


  • wild3406

    Tough, you voted for him. Now deal with the consequences. Maybe you clowns will look at things differently now that it affects you. So as you all like to say pull up your big boy pants and deal with it. As Nelson from the Simpsons likes to say “haha”

    • Brent Silvis

      No. Democracy doesn’t end at the voting booth. You don’t pull the lever then let the political winds push your government wherever they choose. Democracy is calling your politicians out on their bullshit, whether you voted for them or not.

  • suegarelik

    I most certainly did not vote for him.he may have a D after his name but he has always been aDINO

  • woodauger

    Pennsylvania has as much gas as the rest of the states put together. It’s no one else’s fault if they choose not to use it to produce their own power. Obama has been very supportive of the gas industry

  • Jack Wolf

    The true unfair burden for Pennsylvanians is the costs of fossil fuel driven climate change in addition to all the public health impacts of fracking. Remember that next time you have to turn on your AC or when your kid runs out of asthma medicine.

  • Jack Wolf

    Can someone tell me why fossil fuel companies didn’t clean up those “legacy coal refuse piles” in the first place? Why would tax payer be responsible? The industry still exists, they created that mess, let them bear the cost. Casey’s argument is ridiculous. We know what side Casey is on. He voted for Keystone. He votes for fossil fuel interests. As far as I’m concerned, now that fossil fuel driven climate change is occurring, people like him are public enemies.

  • KeepTapWaterSafe

    Pennsylvania needs to clean up its act. Maybe start with Casey?

  • Mack

    It’s pay me now or pay me later. Sooner or later that can is going to come to the end of the road. Then what?

  • Julieann Wozniak

    Dear Mr. Casey: cancer, lung disease, and heart disease are unfair burdens for us Pennsylvanians who live around fossil fuel burning. We don’t have lobbyists with deep pockets, but if you really are “pro-life” our well-being and safety should be your primary concern.

  • AlSever

    You have to look at the BIG picture–within 50 years more than half of Pennsylvanians will be Amish as they are outbreeding the Un-amish. Won’t need electricity then so might as well use it all now.

    • Jack Wolf

      Within 50 years, Pennsylvania will be so hot that the folks without AC will be dropping like flies.

      • AlSever

        You obviously under estimate humans ability to acclimate to changing conditions. If serious about Climate change, you should be investing in property in Greenland like some people are doing. Greenland is going to be as warm as when the Norse had farms there and who were destroyed by Global cooling. As the Chinese like to point out–we could lose a hundred million people and it would make us stronger.
        As for me, I’m betting we will use our Nukes before Global warming. Won’t matter how hot it is if you are a radioactive grease spot. Keep paying taxes for Nukes!

        • Jack Wolf

          Greenland can’t support agriculture. They don’t have soil. As water becomes more scarce as global warming continues, yes I expect someone will push that big red button.

          • AlSever

            After I compost a few dozen whales, I’ll have lots of soil. Actually there was an article in “the Atlantic” a few years that said agriculture would be possible in Greenland, but not Siberia. Forget why.

  • Shara jakala

    The coal sector has been unfairly targeted and it’s done nothing to reduce greenhouse gases. There was a great piece written by some engineers that tried to prove a theorum that cutting green house gases would save us but it won’t. And even they agreed that dollar for dollar coal still the best supply and delivery system for electricity generation.

    Read it for yourselves

  • JimBarth

    As the article states, PA is the 3rd largest emitter of CO2 in the nation. How can Casey say he supports the goal of reduction, then beg to have PA excused from real action on that goal? How can Casey say he recognizes the clear and present danger to the U.S. posed by climate change, then vote for the construction of the XL pipeline, which would fully support the terrible tar sands extraction?

  • Tom Crooks

    Like it or not, low cost electricity is really good. I’m very happy to pay my $0.08 per KwHr here in southwestern PA. Policies that result in paying significantly more for electricity will disproportionately hurt the poor and middle class. Increased electric bills in our homes are just the start. Even less manufacturing (if that is possible), and higher costs for all goods will hurt everyone.

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