HealthFirst PA works to raise the awareness of residents and policymakers about the health impact of pollution on the residents of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and we advocate for better policy. We envision a world where all Pennsylvania residents have equal access to clean air and water.
The Issues We Work On
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
Cutting methane emissions is the fastest opportunity we have to immediately slow the rate of global warming. Methane has more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide over the first 20 years after it reaches the atmosphere. At least 25% of today’s global warming is driven by methane from human actions. Cutting harmful methane pollution will protect public health and the climate.
RGGI is a carbon pollution control program that works by requiring electric power plants to buy “allowances” to cover their plants’ carbon emissions, which encourages them to modernize their plants. The revenue from the purchase of these allowances is then reinvested in clean energy projects. The ten neighboring states that participate in RGGI have reduced power sector carbon dioxide pollution by 45% since 2005.
Orphan Well Plugging
A significant number of wells drilled in Pennsylvania were drilled prior to modern well permitting and plugging requirements, and it is estimated that somewhere between 100,000 and 560,000 oil and gas wells remain unaccounted for in state records. Historical plugging practices and materials used have not always been adequate to ensure the protection of the commonwealth’s water resources. As a result, a significant number of wells still pose a potential threat to human health and the environment.
Clean air is the cornerstone of a clean, healthy environment. Pennsylvania must work towards reducing petroleum consumption within the transportation sector, specifically working to make electric vehicles more accessible and attainable, both privately and publicly, and building out an infrastructure to support this goal.
Petrochemicals are substances made from petroleum or shale gas (what some people call “fracked gas”). These substances can be used to manufacture a number of industrial products, including plastics, fertilizer, pesticides, dyes, detergents, and even gasoline. Producing these substances requires large industrial complexes that emit high levels of pollution into the environment, significantly impacting public health.
Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. Fair treatment means that no population bears a disproportionate share of negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, municipal, and commercial operations or from the execution of federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and policies.