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SUSTAINABLE ELECTION 2018 - PA Governor's Race

Laws and policies that promote sustainability would help grow our economy, create jobs, improve quality of life in our communities, make us healthier, reduce risks to our national security, and improve the lives of the poorest among us.  Widener Law Commonwealth's Environmental Law and Sustainability Center provides this information on the candidates’ sustainability positions in the spirit of public service, to help voters make informed decisions.

Issues Wagner Wolf
Green Jobs and Green Business Wagner says infrastructure improvements are needed to handle changing weather patterns and that the free market will bring cleaner energy solutions. Source Wolf supports the following:
• Expand the use of clean energy
• Accelerate investment in energy efficiency
• Set green building standards for state buildings
• Help build renewable energy workforce and sector
Investment in Environmental Infrastructure While in Senate, Wagner voted yes on HB 1565 (an act to preserve and improve the purity of the waters of the Commonwealth) to Amend Buffer Zone Requirements around Certain Streams. Source Wolf announced 359 new project approvals through the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA): 236 Small Water and Sewer Program projects to protect and improve municipalities’ water systems, and 123 projects using funds collected from the impact fee on unconventional gas wells in Marcellus Shale areas which will support public services and environmental protection projects.
• For example, the Pennsylvania Small Water and Sewer Program provides grants to assist municipalities with the construction, improvement, expansion, or repair of their water supplies or sanitary sewer systems.
• The 123 projects include abandoned mine drainage abatement, flood mitigation, orphan or abandoned well plugging, sewage facilities, watershed restoration and protection, among others.
Clean Energy While in Senate, Wagner voted yes for HB 2354, an act which requires DEP to submit its plan for implementing the Clean Power Plan to the General Assembly and allows either house of the General Assembly to disapprove the DEP plan. Source

Wagner supports natural gas drilling and maintains that the U.S. shouldn’t worry too much about greenhouse gas emissions. Source
Wolf had Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) reopen the Solar Energy Program (SEP) for applications, offering more than $30 million in loan funds to promote the use of solar energy in Pennsylvania. Source

Wolf is working to make sure that the benefits of increased renewable jobs, a cleaner environment, and a growing renewable economy will be felt throughout the commonwealth. Source

Signed Senate Bill 234, establishing Pennsylvania’s Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, a financing mechanism that enables low-cost, long-term funding for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation upgrades to commercial or industrial properties.  Source
Sustainable Communities Wagner said climate change is probably happening, but the government should nevertheless pare down restrictive regulations on the natural gas drilling industry. Source “Governor Wolf passed new safeguards that improved the protection of water and public resources, as well as public health and safety, and also addressed landowner concerns, enhanced transparency, and improved data management.” Source

Contributed towards the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program allocations, which seek to bolster important projects statewide for community redevelopment, workforce development, and business and non-profit expansion. Source
Sustainable Agriculture Wagner grew up on a farm in southern York County, and has expressed his support for the industry and concern about DEP’s permitting of delays and red tape making it impossible, and continuing to make it impossible, for agriculture to grow. Source Wolf is:
• Working on rebuilding and expanding the state’s infrastructure, including roads, bridges, ports and broadband
• Strengthening Pennsylvania’s workforce to ensure the next generation is prepared to lead 
• Removing unnecessary regulatory burdens and strengthening the state’s business climate 
• Establishing business ownership succession plans on the farm and throughout the food system 
• Creating more processing capabilities to accommodate a growing animal agriculture and protein sector
Climate Change Wagner:
• Told a woman she was "young and naive" when asked about climate change.
• Now, Scott Wagner believes the debate on human causes of climate change is settled. 
Source 1 Source 2 Source 3 Source 4

Wagner said:
• “The earth moves closer to the sun every year -- you know the rotation of the earth," according to State Impact, an NPR affiliate. "We’re moving closer to the sun."
• He also said, “We have more people. You know, humans have warm bodies. So, is heat coming off? Things are changing, but I think we are, as a society, doing the best we can."

When asked how he would use his office to address climate change. Wagner wouldn’t answer [the] question. Source 

Wolf supports clean energy and wants to move Pennsylvania away from coal energy. In his words, “Today’s action by the President will do nothing to help coal communities but will exacerbate the negative impact climate change is having on our economy – from agriculture to tourism. Nevertheless, Pennsylvania, as a major energy provider, will continue to reduce pollution thanks to market decisions in the power sector, increased reliance on clean energy and improved energy efficiency, and improved oversight of emissions of potent greenhouse gasses such as methane.” Source

Wolf issued “responsible climate change action plan.” Source

However, in his 2018 goals which were put on social media, Wolf does not state climate change as a pertinent issue among other issues such as the opioid crisis and healthcare for senior citizens. Source
Sustainable Transportation Wagner has stated, “I don’t have an agenda to go to a complete 100 percent renewable energy program because it’s not realistic. I use waste trucks–and it’s not feasible–it isn’t going to be cost effective that we would have electric trucks. We’ve done a lot of research. We have stayed away from natural gas in our fleets for many reasons, and we continue to run diesel.” Source Wolf:
• Proposes to bring together key stakeholders, engage the private sector, and leverage private dollars to kick-start projects that will increase Pennsylvania’s economic competitiveness 
• Desires to build high-speed rail between Pennsylvania and Chicago capable of transporting manufactured goods in three hours
• Believes collaboration with neighboring states will be a powerful voice for requesting additional federal and private investment.
• Will also represent Pennsylvania’s interest in Washington D.C., requesting increased federal funds and flexibility to help overcome challenges with innovative infrastructure
Marcellus Shale Fee or Tax Wagner supports increased Marcellus Shale gas development, along with new pipeline construction and manufacturing plants like Shell’s ethane cracker. Source Wolf:
• Supports natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania 
• Supports a limit to pipeline construction
Environmental Protection Wagner’s efforts have included methane standards for new oil and gas sites and halting the leasing of state park land for drilling. Source

2003 National Environmental Scorecard indicates Wagner voted anti-environmental, including his strong stance to fight EPA overreach (Wagner scores 0% by the LCV--League of Conservation Voters--on environmental issues). Source
• Governor Wolf opposed President Trump’s proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency. Impacts from these cuts would harm businesses seeking permits, and harm residents’ clean water, air, land, safe drinking water inspections, sewage and industrial wastewater inspections, brownfield redevelopment, and eliminate funding for radon protection.
• Governor Wolf also fought efforts to delay new ozone pollution regulations.
Parks and Forests Wagner has said, “I love the outdoors, I grew up around the outdoors, I love fishing–I am in favor of drilling on state lands.” Source With one of his first actions in office, Governor Wolf issued an executive order (2015-03) for a gas drilling moratorium in Pennsylvania’s state parks. Source
Land Use Wagner, while in Senate voted yes in 2014 on HB1565 (which allows “substantially equivalent” alternatives to riparian buffers around certain streams. Source Voted in favor of a resolution put forward by the Delaware River Basin Commission to issue draft regulations to permanently ban hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas in the Delaware River Basin. Source

The Center does not endorse any particular candidates, and no endorsement should be implied.  In addition, the Center does not endorse or affirm the accuracy of any statements made by any candidate about matters of fact.  Research and writing for the candidates’ positions was done by Ronea Fowler, Brittany Warwick, and Shangjun Zhang, students at Widener Law Commonwealth.