As a mother and grandmother who cares deeply about the planet my family will inherit, I am supportive of climate action and more specifically, Pennsylvania linking to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a proven program that facilitates cuts in carbon pollution from the power sector.

Pennsylvanians like me are already experiencing climate change at a local level: Extremely hot summers that have prompted the well on our farm to sporadically run dry; drought-like conditions that have kept the tick population around us thriving nearly year-round; cascading superstorms that flood surrounding valleys in the blink of eye. These impacts are not abstract, they are real, as my youngest son fell severely ill with Lyme disease last summer. Not surprisingly, Pennsylvania has the most cases of Lyme disease in the nation.

Pennsylvania has the fifth dirtiest power sector in the nation due to the limitless amount of carbon dioxide being spewed into our air from coal and natural gas power plants. RGGI’s program limits carbon emissions and generates proceeds for participating states to invest in cleaner energy, energy efficiency and could even provide fairness for workers in coal communities impacted by the energy transition that is well underway.

Decisions made years ago in our commonwealth have made our environment increasingly polluted and our dirty, fossil fuel-fired power sector continues to contribute to climate change and impact public health. While I hope that my children and grandchildren will continue to live close by, I am torn since most of all, I want them to live in a place where they can lead healthy, happy lives.

I urge the Wolf administration and Department of Environmental Protection to move deliberately and quickly on linking Pennsylvania to RGGI. Our families, communities and way of life hang in the balance.

Cathy Lodge