FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 10, 2018
Meredith Montalto, Ceisler Media
Clean Power PA Coalition Urges State and Local Leaders to Focus Volkswagen Settlement Funds on
Electrification of Transportation in Pennsylvania
PITTSBURGH-- (May 10, 2018) –The Clean Power PA Coalition today urged Governor Wolf, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and program applicants to prioritize the expansion of electric vehicles and electric transportation infrastructure when choosing projects to receive $118 million in funding from Pennsylvania’s share of the Volkswagen emissions settlement. The coalition of environmental, clean energy, public health, faith and conservation groups issued the following statement as administration officials announced plans for rebates and grants at a facility featuring compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations:
“Pennsylvania has a tremendous opportunity to transform our transportation system in ways that will advance cleaner air and improved public health for the long term with the funds available from the Volkswagen settlement. We applaud the administration’s intent to focus investments in areas that already have the worst air quality problems. However, as state leaders begin to disburse millions of dollars to projects that will cut harmful vehicle emissions, we urge those decision-makers to prioritize projects that will reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, cut greenhouse gas emissions and truly transform our transportation system toward full electrification.
“Simply switching vehicles to new diesel engines or CNG fuel may produce short-term pollution reductions, but will lock us into greater dependence on fossil fuels, including natural gas that produces climate-warming methane emissions. Regardless of the source of electricity, carbon pollution and conventional pollution like nitrogen oxide (NOx) will be reduced in greater amounts by switching to more efficient electric motors.
“Pennsylvania residents spoke strongly in favor of as much electrified transportation as possible during DEP’s public comment period last year, and according to recent State Impact/Franklin & Marshall polling, nearly 70 percent of Pennsylvanians want state leaders to pursue policies that support renewable energy over fossil fuels.
“The market is moving toward electrification, as technology improves, costs come down and consumer demand grows. Auto manufacturers have increasingly committed to producing electric vehicles. The same cannot be said of CNG vehicles, which are virtually absent from the light-duty consumer vehicle market, and there is no sign that will change.
“The buying public knows that electricity is the fuel of the future. According to an AAA survey released just this week, Americans are even more likely to buy electric cars than they were last year, with 20 percent saying they will buy an electric vehicle as their next car.
“We urge DEP to utilize the full 15 percent maximum of the settlement funding allocated for building out light-duty electric vehicle charging stations to leverage the growing consumer demand for electric vehicles, promote cleaner air and provide consumer savings on fuel costs. We also believe that projects to develop electric busses for school children and public transit systems and those projects that are coupled with solar or other renewables should be given high priority for funding and would be a worthwhile investment in long-term public health improvements as well as much-needed cost-savings for school districts and municipalities across Pennsylvania.
“Let us remember that the point of the Volkswagen lawsuit and settlement was to correct a violation of the Clean Air Act caused by false claims about supposedly “clean diesel.” The Commonwealth’s goal for disbursing settlement funds should be to ensure that funded projects move us toward a safer and cleaner transportation system. We must make the right choices now to transform our transportation system in ways that will advance cleaner air and improved public health for generations to come.”
The Clean Power PA Coalition is a group of clean energy, business, faith, and community leaders committed to protecting Pennsylvania’s environment and powering its economy through clean energy. The coalition includes the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), PennFuture, Clean Air Council, Moms Clean Air Force, Penn Environment, NextGen Climate America, Conservation Voters of PA, Clean Water Action, Voces Verdes, Sierra Club, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Audubon Pennsylvania, Physicians for Social Responsibility-Philadelphia , Climate Parents, Partnership for Policy Integrity, Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light, Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association, Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, Sustainable Pittsburgh and Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2).
For more information, visit www.cleanpowerpa.org