PA Climate Change Action Plan Update Moves To Completion
On Friday, DEP’s Climate Change Advisory Committee met to provide its last comments on a PA Climate Action Plan Update and individual work plan recommendations, but took no overall vote or action on the documents.
DEP said the Plan Update would be finalized by December 31 and presented to the Governor and the General Assembly.
Vince Brisini, DEP Deputy for Waste, Air, Radiation and Remediation, told the Committee they would have an opportunity to submit comments on the Plan that would be reflected in an appendix to the Plan Update.
He also noted there are provisions in the Committee’s bylaws for a formal minority report if four or more members of the Committee can agree to its content. The minority report would be posted on the Committee’s webpage along with the Plan Update.
Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware), Minority Chair of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and a member of the Committee, said he was disappointed the Plan Update did not include a specific goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Nor did the Plan call for an increase in renewable energy under the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards he said.
Both the Plan Update and the Appendix are undergoing revisions and will be posted on the Committee webpage when completed.
The draft Plan Update provides options in several sectors--
-- Electricity Production, Transmission and Distribution: Act 129 electricity use reduction, coal mine methane recovery, surface mines and non-gassy underground mines, gassy underground mines, combined heat and power, reducing methane leakage from natural gas infrastructure, waste-to-energy digesters, beneficial use of municipal solid waste (waste-to-energy facilities), nuclear capacity uprates, manure digesters and sulfur hexafluoride emission reductions from the electric power industry;
-- Residential, Commercial and Industrial: building commissioning, demand side management- natural gas and water, high-performance buildings, re-roof Pennsylvania, re-light Pennsylvania, industrial electricity best management practices, heating oil conservation and fuel switching, improved efficiency at wastewater treatment facilities and increased recycling initiative;
-- Land Use and Transportation: alternative fueled transit bus, taxicab fleets, cutting emissions from freight transportation; and
-- Agriculture and Forestry: durable wood products, forest protection easements, forestland protection initiative-acquisition, urban forestry and no-till farming.
The Plan Update includes recommendations for legislative changes made by DEP in several areas--
-- Carbon Capture Liability: Address long-term liability issues associated with carbon capture and sequestration;
-- Carbon Capture Incentives: Provide incentives for the capture and use of coal mine methane;
-- DSIC Program Effectiveness: Evaluate the effectiveness of the DSIC (Distribution System Improvement Charges) Program for utilities to determine the impact accelerated natural gas distribution infrastructure replacement has on decreasing fugitive methane emissions;
-- Expand Natural Gas Use: Enact legislative incentivizing and directing natural gas utilities to expand existing service territory to un-serve customers in a cost-effective manner;
-- Alternative Fueled Vehicles: Provide additional incentives for the use of alternative fueled vehicles, including electric and LNG/CNG, particularly by large fuel consumption fleets;
-- Energy Use Profiling: Consider legislative mandating or encouraging energy use profiling for commercial buildings, similar to the City of Philadelphia ordinance;
-- Competitive Energy Markets: Expand competitive electricity markets to foster and encourage renewable and alternative energy suppliers to enter Pennsylvania’s market;
-- Support AEPS: Continue to support the implementation of the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards; and
-- Add New Waste-To-Energy To AEPS: Amend the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards to permit the inclusion of additional waste-to-energy facilities.
Climate Impact Assessment
In addition to the draft Action Plan Update, DEP released a Climate Impacts Assessment Update in October prepared by professors and students at Penn State University’s Environment and Natural Resources Institute.
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