How should Pa. balance energy needs with environmental protection?

Pa. coal production has slowed since the Marcellus Shale boom began, and concerns linger about the environmental impact of both. StateImpact and WHYY recently hosted “The Politics of Pennsylvania’s Energy Future,” a panel discussion, where we asked attendees for their opinions.

The planet is in danger. Well, the rock circling the sun will be fine, but the conditions that support life on Earth are threatened by climate change. It’s a pressing issue that has been all but ignored during this presidential campaign.

The candidates’ positions on the issue couldn’t be further apart. Hillary Clinton said she aims to make the United States a “clean energy superpower.” Donald Trump supports weaker environmental regulations on energy companies, and he doesn’t believe humans are even capable of having an effect on the climate. StateImpact Pennsylvania reporter Marie Cusick recently summarized their positions (“Clinton and Trump advisers debate energy and environmental policy“).

Undecided voter Ken Bone asked the candidates at the second presidential debate: “What steps will your energy policy take to meet our energy needs, while at the same time remaining environmentally friendly, and minimizing job loss for fossil [fuel] power plant workers?”

Trump responded: “The EPA is so restrictive that they are putting our energy companies out of business. And all you have to do, go to … places like Pennsylvania, and you see what they’re doing to miners and others in the energy business. It’s a disgrace.”

Coal production has slowed in the state since the Marcellus Shale boom began, but many Pennsylvanians have concerns about the environmental effects of both. StateImpact and WHYY recently hosted “The Politics of Pennsylvania’s Energy Future,” a panel discussion. We put a version of Bone’s question to attendees willing to share their ideas on camera.

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