LETTER: Lawmakers need to fill the climate-change gap

York Dispatch

The recent editorial is exactly right. Both the burden and responsibility to save our environment from the ravages of climate change rests on the shoulders of state lawmakers (“EDITORIAL: Pennsylvania must lead on climate,” June 7, 2017). In Pennsylvania, we will soon have the opportunity to see if this is a challenge that our lawmakers are willing to address. Pennsylvania’s five nuclear energy plants are both integral to providing clean, safe power and also in serious financial peril due to uncommonly low natural gas prices.

FILE - In this June 3, 2017, file photo, the coal-fired Plant Scherer, one of the nation's top carbon dioxide emitters, stands in the distance in Juliette, Ga. A new poll finds that less than a third of Americans support President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, with just 18 percent of respondents agreeing with his claim that pulling out of the international agreement to reduce carbon emissions will help the U.S. economy.(AP Photo/Branden Camp, File)

Remarkably, the commonwealth’s nuclear facilities produce over 90 percent of the state’s carbon-free energy. And nuclear energy is the only source of carbon-free energy that can generate power 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. These plants help to prevent 37 million tons of carbon emissions each year along with a host of other pollutants. This puts Pennsylvania as one of the top five clean energy producers in the nation. On top of their environmental contributions, our nuclear plants also provide thousands of full-time jobs to hardworking Pennsylvanians across the state.

We urge our lawmakers to consider various options for keeping our state’s nuclear facilities in operation. Lawmakers should have the resolve to fill the gap left by federal government with regard to climate change.

Chris Reilly

York County Commissioner,

Co-chair, Clean Jobs for Pennsylvania