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PA Environmental Groups Join Forces To Increase Advocacy

Marie Cusick
StateImpact Pennsylvania


Two of Pennsylvania’s leading environmental groups are forming a new strategic alliance in response to what they call an “unprecedented anti-environmental political climate at the federal and state levels.”

PennFuture and the Conservation Voters of PA will combine policy, advocacy, and legal resources to mobilize voters around environmental issues and hold lawmakers accountable.

Conservation Voters of PA has staff of five, and will remain a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization with an affiliated PAC. PennFuture has a staff of 20 and is a 501(c)(3) organization, which bars it from participating in elections. But PennFuture President and CEO Larry Schweiger says the alliance builds on a model other organizations have used in other states.

“We have to be very clear about where the money comes from and how it’s spent,” says Schweiger. “But this gives us room to participate.”

Conservation Voters of PA Executive Director Josh McNeil says scaling up is the primary goal.

“The environmental fights at the state and federal level are massive. We’re talking about a systematic change towards clean energy and decades of work protecting clean air and clean water that are all at risk,” says McNeil. “We wanted to try to have a bigger impact on lawmakers and the state they’re supposed to be protecting.”

McNeil and Schweiger say the their groups have been in discussion about the partnership for about a year, but they feel a renewed sense of urgency with the incoming Trump administration. The President-elect has called climate change a hoax and nominated people to key cabinet positions who have fought efforts to address it.

Find more of this report on the site of our partner, StateImpact Pennsylvania

WMHT/Capital Region reporter for the Innovation Trail.