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Expert: Dirty Energy Poses Health Risks to Children, Switching to Clean Energy Can Help

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 4% of Pennsylvania's electricity was generated from renewable-energy sources in 2020.

April is Earth Month, a time to raise environmental awareness worldwide.

In Pennsylvania, a nonpartisan group called Science Moms wants families to know about new rebates and tax credits through landmark federal clean-energy laws.

Joellen Russell, professor of geosciences at the University of Arizona and co-founder of Science Moms, said making the switch to clean energy is more affordable. But many people are still unaware of the tools at their disposal, or the reasons for making the switch. She stated they are educating parents on the risks of dirty energy and the everyday actions they can take to keep their little ones safe.

"And we're trying to talk to our fellow moms about the opportunity here with the federal Clean Energy laws," Russell explained. "To do everything from get a heat pump for your house to, for less money, switching out those nasty belching school buses for clean electric buses, and get federal dollars to help make that switch."

Russell noted school districts purchasing new electric buses can get big rebates and save money immediately because they are not pumping a bunch of new diesel. It also produces cleaner air. In the meantime, the Philadelphia public school district purchased its first five electric school buses in 2022 and are planning on expanding its fleet in 2023 to reduce its carbon footprint.

Russell pointed out burning fossil fuels not only adds heat-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, which then makes it warmer, but it is also harmful to Pennsylvanians' health. She stressed it is time for families to take action in their communities by switching from carbon polluting to non-carbon polluting, sharing information, and speaking up about best practices for clean energy.

"Do EV, do hybrid, if you're in the market for a car, used or not used," Russell urged. "This is just much better, and it will save money on your gas. Plus, there are new incentives for electric vehicles here. If your community is thinking about putting in more charging stations, there's money through the federal clean-energy laws."

Russell encouraged parents to engage with local schools and let them know electric school buses will cut toxic fumes emitted from diesel buses. She also suggested starting conversations about cleaner energy with family and friends, in person and on social media.


Renewable Energy Pa. Dept. of Environmental Protection 2023