Letters: Pa. needs a cleaner power plan

ISSUE | CLIMATE CHANGE

Need a cleaner plan

A letter's rosy assessment of the Clean Power Plan overlooked the ways it will fail to advance clean energy, and potentially do serious damage to our environment ("Let Clean Power Plan pave the way in Pa.," Oct. 10). Pennsylvania can and must do better.

Advocates of the plan tout natural gas as a bridge to clean energy because of its lower carbon emissions compared to oil and coal. That ignores the dangerous and damaging effects of methane gas emissions. Methane leaks are an unavoidable byproduct of natural gas production, occurring during extraction, transportation, and usage.

Even worse, a loophole in the plan allows states to decide whether power plants built after 2014 may evade any cap on carbon emissions. In Pennsylvania, there are 42 plants approved for construction that may be allowed to produce limitless carbon emissions. And 21 are automatically exempt from regulations because their estimated capacity falls short of 25 megawatts.

As we have seen across our state, fracking can contaminate our air and water, destroy natural resources, and cause illnesses. This makes the plan disappointing and potentially dangerous. The state should opt for a true clean-energy plan that promotes renewables, not more dangerous fracking.

Jenny Lisak, steering committee member, Pennsylvanians Against Fracking, Punxsutawney, Pa.

Kids' health at stake

October is Children's Health month, and like most parents, I do everything I can to protect my children's health. I make sure they wear seatbelts and helmets, see their doctor regularly, and get plenty of exercise and the healthiest foods possible.

But one thing I can't control is the air they breathe. When pollution is in the air, we have no choice but to breathe it. That's why pollution needs to be cleaned up at the source.

In the United States, more than half of all children live in areas that violate federal air-quality standards. Air pollution can impact children's growing bodies and stunt their developing lungs. It can also trigger asthma attacks. Nationally, 9 percent of children suffer from asthma, while in some Philadelphia neighborhoods the rate is up to three times greater.

As a parent and member of Moms Clean Air Force, I want to raise awareness about the epidemic of illness and chronic diseases linked to air pollution and our changing climate. That's why I supported the inaugural Children's Environmental Health Day on Thursday.

All children deserve the right to play, learn, and breathe in environments that are not harmful to their health.

Christine Dolle, Philadelphia, cdolle@momscleanairforce.org