This article covers Congressional candidates from Pennsylvania for the midterm election this November. To access our Pennsylvania primary review, click here. To learn more about Sustainable Politician Project and our ranking system, read our full intro here.
In the summaries that we provide for incumbents, we include a score based on their “LCV” score. The LCV is the League of Conservation Voters, and they track incumbent’s votes on major environmental policies that are going through Congress. If you want to know more about the LCV, click here.
Our primary pick: Bob Casey Jr. – Rank: Strong
- Incumbent since 2007
- Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry
- LCV Score of 92%
- Your current senator is everything we want in a sustainable candidate. From his time in office, he’s proposed and supported a significant amount of “green” legislation. Here are some of his (many!) highlights:
Casey (along with many other senators) announced his support for the EPA’s National Center for Environmental Research (NCER). This part of the EPA funds scientific research relevant to citizen health. The research puts science into the hands of lawmakers, so they can make better decisions when it comes to environmental concerns. This can be things like telling corporations to limit how much they pollute, that way contaminated air and water isn’t going to damage us big time. The current administration’s plans for this leg of the EPA is to shut it down.
He isn’t just worried about large-scale climate change. He’s focused on protecting you, right in your Pennsylvanian home. Your senator’s actions and pledges aim to preserve your state’s natural resources and environment.
With regards to energy, Casey is all for the clean stuff. He sees this as a potential for combating climate change, keeping our clean and air clean, and creating new jobs. This is why he supports (and voted for) the Clean Power Plan. The EPA’s plan sets targets for each state to reduce their carbon emissions–a way to reduce pollution and encourage a switch to greener energy.
He also co-sponsored the Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage Act. This act furthers the 45Q tax credit–a credit that rewards a capture and safe disposal of CO2.
Other great anti-polluting things to note include Casey’s support of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard (MATS). The plan keeps power plants in line by stopping them from emitting toxic chemicals that harm people, especially kids. He also voted for the Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), which does similar things for power plants in the Eastern parts of the United States, so power plants don’t pollute the air that carries to other nearby states.
We also have some fracking things to share. Casey proposed the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals (FRAC), which gives the EPA some regulation ability of the fracking process and requires that the chemical used during the process is not kept private.
- A collection of other things worth noting:
- Introduced the Trash Reduction and Sensible Handling Act (TRASH).
- Supports regulating coal ash by sending letters to the EPA.
- Dedicated to protecting National Parks.
- Requested funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
- Sponsored the Susquehanna Gateway National Heritage Area Act.
- Introduced the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act.
- Voted in support of the Endangered Species Act.
Lou Barletta (R) – Rank: Weak
This candidate supports the Keystone XL pipeline and funding renewable energy developments, but does not support federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions (source).
Dale Kerns (Libertarian) – Rank: Unknown
Although Dale discusses several key issues on his campaign website, environmental and energy issues are not one of them.
Neal Gale (Green Party) – Rank: Unknown
We were unable to find information on Neal’s sustainable platform.
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Our primary pick: Scott Wallace – Rank: Strong
- Runs a nonprofit organization Wallace Global Fund that works to combat climate change (and other things). (Big bonus points here!)
Scott is not a happy camper when it comes to our current response to climate change. First off, he’s adamant about people (like the current administration) accepting that climate change is happening, it’s dangerous, and that it needs to be dealt with. Secondly, he thinks Scott Pruitt was a bad pick for the EPA because of his position on climate change (a denier, by the way). It’s safe to assume that our candidate is probably not too keen on sharing the same name with this dude. The nonprofit he runs works to fight climate change on a local and global level by challenging corporate power and demanding equality for people who do not have clean air or water.
Scott supports a number of things to get us on the right path. First, he believes in rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement (a worldwide agreement to combat climate change) and the Clean Power Plan (a plan to reduce carbon emissions), along with strengthening the EPA’s ability to regulate pollution. He also wants to take down tax breaks for fossil fuel companies, in order to push for clean energy (which has the potential for many, many new jobs).
Brian Fitzpatrick (R) – Incumbent (District 8) – Rank: Good
Brian is one of the better republicans we’ve seen running for Congress. He recognizes the importance of addressing climate change and has been working on trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He supports science-driven legislation to continue encouraging solutions for climate change and has an LCV score of 71% (source).
- Incumbent since 2015 (District 13)
- 2009-2015 Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Although Brendan doesn’t give his views straight-up on his Representative and campaign sites, we have good reason to believe he’s on our side. Brendan has shown his support for funding renewable energy developments and for federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, along with a few other key issues. He’s been fighting for clean water (especially contaminate-free drinking water) and opposed proposals to lift drilling bans off the Atlantic coast. Plus, he has an LCV score of 98%, so he’s been walking the walk pretty well (source).
David Torres (R) – Rank: Unknown
Although David’s campaign site discusses a few key issues, environmental and energy issues are not one of them.
- Incumbent since 2016 (District 2)
- Former teacher
Dwight is a big advocate for getting city folk access to green areas and farming opportunities. There are several places in Pennsylvanian cities called “food deserts” (maybe you live in one) where getting access to fresh produce–or even a grocery store–is quite the issue. Dwight wants to help you guys out with farmers markets (and getting local Pennsylvania farms involved), farm-to-school initiatives, and urban farming. These are a little bit less to do with your typical climate change issues, but agriculture is a huge part of our “green” outlook. Getting local farms more involved keeps factory farms from monopolizing the food game and keeps your dollar away from big-time polluters. (Yes, farms pollute a lot!)
Your current Rep has already had big success in combating the food desert issues with his Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative. This program created loads of grocery stores and other food access points across the state, became a model for the entire country, and was endorsed by good ol’ Michelle Obama.
Dwight also wants to give cities more green spaces and clean air. One way to do this is by planting more trees and supporting Pennsylvania’s TreeVitalize Program. Your state has lost a lot of trees, and it’s time for restoration. TreeVitalize has already planted a LOT of trees (we’re talking in the hundreds of thousands) since its 2004 launch.
Bryan Leib (R) – Rank: Unknown
Although Bryan’s campaign site discusses a few key issues, environmental and energy issues are not one of them.
Our primary pick: Madeleine Dean – Rank: Good
- State representative (2012-present)
We’re pretty excited about Madeleine because she has the attitude of a green leader, stating that, “Lawmakers have a responsibility to protect and preserve our environment.” Yes! They! Do! For Madeleine, this means consistently (and substantially) funding the EPA (and similar organizations) to help lawmakers make the responsible decisions and regulate necessary practices. She envisions America as a “global leader” in combating climate change and making the switch to ONLY renewable sources in her lifetime. (And is also upset about abandoning the Paris Climate Agreement).
Dan David (R) – Rank: Weak
On his campaign site, David encourages the idea use of science to guide policy that addresses climate change, but he also warns against environmental regulations.
Our primary pick: Mary Gay Scanlon – Rank: Strong
- Attorney, public service involvement, school board president
We love Mary because helping people is her driving force (and not just with environmental causes). Her concern with climate change is the threat it poses to you, to future generations, and to our country. She specifically addresses the people of Puerto Rico and Flint, Michigan and vows to work at providing immediate relief. These groups have been ignored by people in political power, still without electricity and clean water (respectively). (Which she offers an obvious reason for: skin color.)
Mary is all about making sure people are safe, which absolutely includes avoiding another Flint crisis and protecting clean air and water. Pennsylvania is at risk for contaminated air and water because of the Covanta trash incinerator in Chester (a huge source of air pollution, although they claim to be making changes), and a proposed Mariner East 2 pipeline (which will carry natural gas and pose threats to drinking water). She vows to protect people from such potential harms by supporting a strengthening of the EPA and refocus it to its original purpose: a bipartisan mission to protect people by regulating pollution.
Mary also has a focus on green energy for our country. She recognizes that in order to protect people and reduce pollution, moving away from fossil fuels is not only a must, but a priority. Not to mention, reliance on fossil fuel energy from abroad creates national security risks. It’s not just about pollution, although that should be enough to concern people. Her support for the 100×50 bill could get the U.S. to switch to 100% renewable energy by 2050, and as a result, energy independent.
But she doesn’t stop there! Mary calls for a fracking ban, pointing out risks fracking poses to safe air and water. She also supports tossing tax breaks for fossil fuel industries and letting that help the switch to renewable energy. To top it off, she’s all for rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement and pushing America to become a leader in fighting climate change.
Pearl Kim (R) – Rank: Weak
Pearl adopts an “all of the above” energy approach by tapping into domestic fossil fuels and utilizing renewable sources.
Our primary pick: Chrissy Houlahan – Rank: Good
- Served as a naval officer, co-founder of B Corporations, CFO of nonprofit organization
- Springboard Collaborative
We first must discuss how important the B Corporation credit is to sustainability. For those that don’t know, B Corps are certified businesses that provide goods or services for the purpose of solving a social or environmental issue. This! Is! Huge! The idea here is to provide consumers with businesses that are doing GOOD things in the world, and it acknowledges the power consumers have to make CHANGE. You know Ben & Jerry’s, right? They are a B Corp because of their commitment to reducing their carbon footprint and supporting sustainable food systems (and to a number of social justice issues). Chrissy is one of the reasons this whole thing exists and proves her dedication to environmental causes.
Apart from this, Chrissy is worried about the threats of climate change (like health, natural disasters, agriculture, etc). She wants to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement and trust the scientists on this one–we can’t ignore climate change. The only reason she does not have a top-dog rank here is because her campaign site does not discuss any plans to tackle these environmental concerns or mention the need to adopt renewable energy on a larger scale.
Greg McCauley (R) – Rank: Unknown
Although Greg’s campaign site discusses a few key issues, environmental and energy issues are not one of them.
Our primary pick: Susan Wild – Rank: Strong
- Attorney, recognized community leader
Susan misses the old EPA with its power to protect the people and enforce the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. She is disheartened by the current climate (pun intended) regarding the political outlook of our environmental issues and vows to “be a leading voice in Congress to defend our environment.” Part of this addresses the lack of action with communities like Flint, Michigan, where she recognizes the unjust response to helping low-income families in crisis.
She supports a push to clean energy via incentivizing businesses to switch over. She aims to protect natural resources and people by passing the FRAC Act which would give the EPA more means of regulating fracking. She likes Senator Casey’s style (that guy we talked about first and highly approve of) and vows to follow his lead, especially with things like rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement and supporting environmentally responsible legislature.
Marty Nothstein (R) – Rank: Unknown
Although Marty’s campaign site discusses a few key issues, environmental and energy issues are not one of them.
Tim Silfies (Libertarian) – Rank: Unknown
Although Tim does not discuss any environmental or energy issues, he does reference fighting against federal overregulation.
- Incumbent since 2013 (District 17)
Matt wants America to be energy independent through the questionable “all-of-the-above” approach, which usually means using renewable and nonrenewable resources. However, Matt says that we need to be responsible with energy production and invest in clean technologies. By doing so, he wants to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. He is also concerned with fracking and the threat it poses to Pennsylvania’s drinking water and natural beauty and fights to close modify the Clean Water Act to close the loophole that allows fracking. Plus, he has a 97% LCV score, which is top-notch (source).
John Chrin (R) – Rank: Unknown
Although John’s campaign site discusses a few key issues, environmental and energy issues are not one of them.
Our primary pick: Denny Wolff – Rank: Good
- Dairy farmer
- World Trade Organization’s Agriculture Technical Committee (under Clinton and Bush)
- Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Agriculture
Denny has done some great stuff for the Pennsylvania farming scene, making locally grown food more accessible across the state. He helped start the PA Preferred Program, which tells consumers that their purchase is a local one. This is a great thing because promoting small local farmers decreases customers buying from factory farms (and the pollution they cause). If elected, we’d love to see him more involved with renewable energy.
Dan Meuser (R) – Rank: Weak
We have some conflicting things to report about Dan, mostly dealing with your state’s agriculture industry. Some good news: Dan seems to be open to and supportive of expanding organic farming in Pennsylvania. Some not so good news: He is really big on stopping EPA regulations that affect farmers. This even includes regulations in place to protect the Chesapeake Bay.
George Scott (D) – Rank: Strong
George vows to combat climate change by supporting legislation that strengthens the EPA’s ability to protect our natural resources and expand the development of renewable energy. When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, George approves of Carbon Fee & Dividend policies, which charges fees for burning carbon and polluting the air. He also disapproves of the administration’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement.
Scott has an “all of the above” energy platform and talks a lot about his support for expanding hydropower in Pennsylvania. However, he supports the Keystone XL pipeline (source), warns against EPA over-regulation, and has a voting record that doesn’t really indicate he’s a green candidate. His LCV score is just 2% (source).
Our primary pick: Jessica King – Rank: Strong
- Founding Executive Director of the Union Project
- Executive Director of ASSETS
Jessica is not fooling around when it comes to the renewable energy push. She promises to co-sponsor the 100×50 bill. This would get the United States running on 100% renewable energy by 2050. She also wants to eliminate subsidizing the fossil fuel industry because who why should oil companies get money for polluting? Additionally, Jessica is against gas pipelines because of the threats they pose to water. Specifically, she opposes the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline, which is being constructed in Pennsylvania.
Also important to note, Jessica is an Executive Director of a nonprofit organization called ASSETS. The organization encourages and aids businesses to have a responsible social and environmental impact in the community. This is a big deal because it leads businesses to become ethically aware and invested in their communities.
Our primary pick: Marc Friedenberg – Rank: Good
Marc acknowledges Pennsylvania’s fossil-fueled history. You guys were once big exporters of nonrenewable resources and helped modernize the country. Marc wants Pennsylvania to continue to export energy, but not with fossil fuels. He’s all about the change and deems it absolutely needed for your state and our country. And this is not just for our environment, but for our economy too.
This guy does not want the government involved with America’s road to energy independence, such as no regulating greenhouse gas emissions. This could be an issue because regulations are necessary in order to keep us safe. He does, however, want to invest in developing renewable resources, but is also pro-Keystone XL (source). As you might have guessed, he states he has an “all of the above” energy approach and discusses how our country must continue extraction of natural gas, oil, and coal, for power, without much emphasis on renewables. Plus, his LCV score of 5% tells us he isn’t emphasizing renewables in Congress either (source).
Brent Ottaway (D) – Rank: Good
Brent understands that climate change is something we need to address ASAP and believes our country should be leading the way in renewable energy. He is concerned about decisions and attempts to roll back EPA regulations and other standards that work to protect the quality of air and water.
John Joyce (R) – Rank: Unknown
Although John’s campaign site discusses a few key issues, environmental and energy issues are not one of them.
Bibiana Boerio (D) – Rank: Weak
Bibiana promises to conserve our natural resources but doesn’t really say much else on the matter.
Guy Reschenthaler (R) – Rank: Unknown
Although Guy’s campaign site discusses a few key issues, environmental and energy issues are not one of them.
Susan Boser (D) – Rank: Strong
Susan is big on using renewable energy alongside small, local businesses. In her vision, these two power plays can work together as one and help build the economy in your state and your district. In fact, she’s developed this idea into the Indiana County Sustainable Economic Development Task Force. The goal of this task force is to develop your local economy through small business, boosted by sound environmental practices, energy efficiency, and renewables. Although this is a new task force, focus groups in renewable energy, sustainable farming, and environmental restoration are already underway.
Glenn seems to find the government “in the way of” energy potential. Without specifically saying so on his website, it seems pretty evident he means fossil fuel production. How do we know? He approved of the Keystone XL pipeline (source), supports land and offshore drilling, continued coal production, and has a 5% LCV score (source).
Robert Multari (D) – Rank: Good
We know what you’re thinking. Fracking? How can you green rank someone who supports fracking? Here us out. While we normally disapprove plans to continue fracking (because of health risks to people and the planet), Robert has a plan in place to do so responsibly and sensibly. He sees fracking as more of a realistic compromise to get us going with renewable energy sources. First, ditch coal altogether. Coal as an energy source is declining already and he is good at moving on. Second, despite his apparent dislike of fracking, he acknowledges the “trillions of dollars worth of gas and oil” below our feet and cannot deny the number of (temporary) jobs this can create for the country and Pennsylvania.
Now, the good news. Robert’s fracking plan starts with taxes. If we tax gas and oil that comes out of the ground and place fees on waste disposal, this can generate some serious funds. Funding for what? You ask. Here comes the green stuff. The plan is investing into developing green energy, making sure ALL safety regulations are being met (environmental and people ones) through each part of the process, researching effects of fracking and adjusting practices accordingly, and safeguarding air, water, and land. He places a strong emphasis on investing in renewable energy solutions, recognizing that fracking is temporary, just as the coal industry had been. And he doesn’t want to wait to start those developments either. This isn’t a fracking-now, renewable-later situation. This is a both-now-for-easier-transition-to-100%-renewable-energy plan.
Mike wants to continue coal and natural gas extraction for the “all of the above” (and “everything below”) energy plan. He is not opposed to pursuing renewable sources. Mike also supports Keystone XL and has a poor LCV score of just 3% (source).
Ebert Beeman (Libertarian) – Rank: Unknown
Although Ebert’s campaign site discusses a few key issues, environmental and energy issues are not one of them.
Conor Lamb (D) – Rank: Weak
Conor wants to keep your air and water clean and healthy but supports natural gas energy production. Apart from this, he doesn’t say too much on the matter.
Keith supports an “all of the above” energy strategy and emphasizes Pennsylvania’s coal industry and a need to hurry along the Keystone XL pipeline construction. While he talks about expanding renewable energy sources, he carries a weak LCV score of just 3% (source).
- Incumbent since 1994
Michael has been a Representative for a long time now. During this time, he has not approved Keystone XL because it did not meet all the environmental requirements. He also supports regulating greenhouse gas emissions. He recognizes the importance of making sure pollutants aren’t harming people, which is why he’s showed his support for the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts and vows to support sustainable energy developments. His LCV score is 77%, which isn’t the greatest, but he’s made improvements over the years and brought his yearly score up to 97% in 2017 (source).