Amid the Old Burying Ground

first_imgCambridge’s settlement-era Old Burying Ground is filled with the bones — and perhaps the spirits — of dead presidents, professors, and people from all walks of life. The cemetery is inexorably intertwined with the early years of Harvard College, or, in the language of 1636, the Colledge at Newtowne.Over the centuries, the cemetery became the final resting place for some of the most important and recognizable figures in Harvard’s early history: Henry Dunster, John Leverett, Benjamin Wadsworth, Edward Holyoke, Edward Wigglesworth, and Nathaniel Appleton. Other family names — Allston, Brattle, Craigie, Davis, Hancock, Porter, and Tufts — are familiar today not only as historical figures but as monikers that eventually came to adorn iconic locations and institutions in and around modern Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston.Executive Director of the Cambridge Historical Commission Charles Sullivan (pictured) tours the Old Burial Ground in Harvard Square where many notable Harvard figures are buried. Photos by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff PhotographerThe Old Burying Ground was opened in 1636 at the edge of Cambridge Common. Located at the intersection of today’s Massachusetts Avenue and Garden Street, it received its first residents only five years after the establishment of Newtowne, which was renamed Cambridge in 1638. For nearly 200 years, it interred the settlement’s dead.By the early 1800s, the cemetery ceased to accept regular burials, with the general exception of descendants of those already interred. Today, many of the 1,218 known graves are still visible among the grass, trees, and shrubs that dot the two-acre site, their weathered headstones tilting toward the sky. But it is likely that hundreds more were buried there, since spaces were continuously reused during the colonial era.Each day, hundreds of Harvard faculty and students stroll past the Old Burying Ground, unaware of its significance.1630s CambridgeColonial Newtowne took root and blossomed on the edge of European settlement, bordered on one side by the Charles River — a source of safety, supplies, and transportation — and on the other three by untamed country. A mere 10 years separated the arrival of the Mayflower passengers at Plymouth and the founding of Cambridge.“It was a wilderness,” said Charles Sullivan, executive director of the Cambridge Historical Commission for the past four decades, as well as a 1970 graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Design. “This was the frontier.”Though the surrounding region was wild, the new residents quickly began to arrange the land they controlled to serve different functions, from housing and agriculture to burials.What was to become Harvard Yard was, famously, then only one part of a large cow pasture that stretched from today’s Cambridge Common west and south until it met the river.The Old Burying Ground was opened in 1636 at the edge of Cambridge Common. A detail from one of the headstones.“The center of the village was where Winthrop Park is,” Sullivan said, referring to the swath of grass and trees, flanked on one side by Peet’s Coffee and Grendel’s Den, where JFK and Mount Auburn streets intersect. “There was never a lot of crop agriculture here. It was mostly cattle. That’s why the Yard is the Yard: It was a cow yard.”“Anyone who has seen stockyards can imagine what Harvard Yard looked (and smelt) like before the College was founded,” wrote the most important chronicler of its early history, Harvard Professor Samuel Eliot Morison, in his 1935 volume “The Founding of Harvard College.” Morison’s research is the basis of much of what is now known about that era of Harvard’s history. In 2009, then-Hollis Professor of Divinity Harvey Cox recalled Cambridge’s bovine beginnings by taking up his legendary right to graze a cow on Harvard Yard.Watch-house Hill — from which early residents kept an eye out for fires and other dangers to the fledgling community — stood near the site of today’s Lehman Hall, across from the primary entrance to the MBTA and Out of Town News. A small creek trickled out of the Yard near today’s replica water pump and flowed down toward the river. The Charles River estuary was much wider than it is today, with most of the area south of today’s Malkin Athletic Center — including the river Houses and Memorial Drive — just tidal marshland. Today’s Dunster Street was then known as Water Street, and dead-ended at a ferry landing where villagers could cross to Boston.In 1635, Harvard College consisted of one building, a house previously owned by William Peyntree, situated in the middle of modern Massachusetts Avenue (then Braintree Street), just outside Holyoke Gate. Its subterranean foundations were discovered by workers extending the MBTA’s Red Line. To the north, east, and west of Harvard Yard was wilderness. While most Indians had either fled or died of European diseases, Sullivan said, early residents still had to contend with the untamed areas around them.Establishing a place to bury the dead was an early priority for the settlers.“You’re going to have to deal with people who die, which was a real significant part of life at that time in a much more prominent way than we think of it,” said Stephen Shoemaker, lecturer on the study of religion at the Harvard Divinity School.As ancient as it is, the Old Burying Ground is actually Cambridge’s second cemetery.“The first cemetery was outside the original village — along today’s Brattle Street, near Longfellow Park — but it was being disturbed by wolves so they moved it here about five years after settlement,” Sullivan said. No trace has been found.The new cemetery was just inside the Common Pales, a fence or barrier that separated the town from the wilderness beyond.“The theory was that wolves wouldn’t cross a man-made boundary, no matter how notional or marginal it was,” Sullivan said, describing the barrier as perhaps a ditch or stacks of brush. “I don’t think that’s true, but they thought it was.”A working cemetery was of particular importance to the new College.“Early on it was thought that ‘we need a place to put the students who die while they are here term-time,’ because smallpox would come through and large numbers of people would disappear during an epidemic,” said Shoemaker.The first currently identifiable grave is that of Ann Erinton, who died in 1653 at age 77, nearly two decades after the first burials occurred. By then, however, it is likely that scores of early colonists had been interred there. Indeed, records include the names of approximately 100 Cambridge residents who died between 1638 and 1653, most of whom presumably would have been laid to rest in the Old Burying Ground.“They weren’t putting up stone markers until the very beginning [of the] 18th century,” Sullivan noted. “Once stone slabs became commonplace, we think some of the earliest markers were [from] descendants who erected stones to their ancestors, which is why we have stones dated from earlier years.”The stones often carried the telltale memento mori, images of death designed to remind the living of their own mortality.“The Puritans were trying to frighten people with images of death,” Sullivan said. “Even when you’re alive, you’re close to death. Here is death staring you in the face. So, straighten up and fly right.”Much of the site’s history would have been lost but for the efforts of William Thaddeus Harris, a graduate of Harvard College with an interest in local history.The presidents and professorsThe tombs of seven presidents of Harvard College — including three of the first four — are still visible in the Old Burying Ground. Their graves are adjacent to the First Parish Church, and to the backs of such Church Street operations as the Christian Science Reading Room and the pizza restaurant Cambridge, 1.“Most of the Harvard presidents rest in the main body of the cemetery,” said Sullivan. “There is a plot that Harvard owns and maintains. It was established because Harvard students and some faculty were dying far from home and transportation was difficult. They wanted a sure place to have them buried here.”Henry Dunster was both Harvard’s first president and the first to be buried in Cambridge. Born in England, he was invited to lead the fledging institution after its first master, Nathaniel Eaton, was dismissed for allegedly mistreating students.“After the abuses of Nathanial Eaton, Harvard actually closed for a year,” said Shoemaker. “They reopened the doors to Harvard with Dunster in charge.”It was Dunster who truly established the College, erecting its first building near modern Grays Hall and securing in 1650 the charter that still governs the University.“He really saved the institution,” Shoemaker said.Dunster also owned the triangular lot at the intersection of modern JFK and Elliot streets, currently occupied by the Curious George Store, over which an inscription in the window advertises the legal services of Dewey, Cheetham, & Howe (say it out loud to get the joke), the fictional firm made famous by NPR’s “Car Talk” brothers, Tom and Ray Magliozzi.But like Eaton, Dunster eventually left Harvard under a cloud after he refused to have his infant son baptized, believing that the practice was only appropriate for adults. After falling out with Massachusetts’ Puritan (and pro-infant baptism) leaders, and annoyed by what he considered inordinate levels of interference by the Board of Overseers, he resigned in 1654 and was replaced by Charles Chauncy, who founded the Indian College and who was eventually interred within feet of his predecessor.Today, a nondescript gray table tomb marks the supposed location of Dunster’s remains. The inscriptions on the top of the stone face have worn away, but a freshly placed metal plaque on one side declares: HENRY DUNSTER 1609-1659 FIRST PRESIDENT OF HARVARD COLLEGE 1640-1654 IN CHRISTI GLORIUM.The location was identified in the 19th century, when antiquarians opened several tombs and “decided that one skeleton wrapped in a tarpaulin in a coffin stuffed with tansy (an aromatic native plant used to conceal the smell of decomposition) was Dunster’s and ordered a monument for him. John Langdon Sibley, who recorded the exhumations in his ‘Private Journal,’ was skeptical,” Susan Maycock and Charles Sullivan note in “Building Old Cambridge: Architecture and Development.”In addition to Dunster and Chauncy, the tombs of Harvard Presidents Urian Oakes, John Leverett, Benjamin Wadsworth, Joseph Willard, and Edward Holyoke can be found nearby.“If any man wishes to be humbled and mortified, let him become President of Harvard College,” Harvard President Edward Holyoke was quoted as saying. The tombstone of Holyoke’s wife is shown.Harvard’s first secular president, Leverett oversaw the establishment of the first endowed chair and the construction of Massachusetts Hall, the University’s oldest existing building. Wadsworth, the College’s eighth president, is principally remembered today as the first resident of the House that bears his name, which served as the president’s residence for more than a century and now houses faculty and administrative offices.After nearly 32 years in office, Holyoke — after whom Holyoke Gate, Holyoke Street, and, formerly, Holyoke Center (now the Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center) were named — famously said: “If any man wishes to be humbled and mortified, let him become President of Harvard College.”Presidents’ familiesDespite the presence of these luminaries, the Old Burying Ground was at the time the only known repository for Cantabrigians’ remains. As in most cemeteries, Harvard’s presidents and other community leaders were surrounded by the remains of their family members, either in individual graves or in subterranean family vaults.“A lot of these table tombs conceal a flight of steps and a vault underground,” Sullivan explained. “Inside, there are shelves on either side” where the remains were placed.Unlike epitaphs on the presidents’ tombs, which were uniformly inscribed in Latin, their relatives and other commoners often settled for English. A poem carved onto the grave of Chauncy’s wife, Catherine, ended with a warning to future generations of Harvard students, faculty, and staff.Pale ghastly death hath sent his shaftAnd hath by Chance nigh broke our heartDeaths volleys sound, sad stormes appeare,Morning draws on: Poore Harverd feare,Least this sad stroke should be a signeOf suddeine future death to thine.On their deaths, prominent faculty members joined presidents and commoners in the Old Burying Ground. Wigglesworth, the first holder of the oldest endowed chair in the United States, the Hollis Professor of Divinity, was interred near the remains of his daughter Sibeyll and his second wife, Rebecca, both of whom predeceased him. His second daughter, Mary, was buried alongside them in 1758. His first son, also named Edward, became the second holder of the prestigious chair, recently held by Cox and now held by Karen Leigh King.Broken gravestones, lost epitaphs Regular interments in the Old Burying Ground ceased in 1811, when a new cemetery was established in Cambridgeport. By the mid-19th century, the Burying Ground had become a relic. Many gravestones had disappeared, and many others had been rendered illegible by the ravages of time, neglect, and vandalism.Much of the site’s history would have been lost but for the efforts of William Thaddeus Harris, a graduate of Harvard College with an interest in local history. Harris, a virtual paraplegic due to a curvature in his spine, according to Sullivan, decided to record for posterity every epitaph before they too disappeared. His book, “Epitaphs from the Old Burying-Ground in Cambridge, With Notes,” published in 1845, includes information about scores of gravestones whose inscriptions have since gone missing or become unreadable.Harris noted how the cemetery had fallen into disrepair.“It is rather surprising, that, in this age of improvement, Cambridge should fall behind her neighbours, and suffer her ancient grave-yard to lie neglected,” he wrote. “Many of the tombs are without the names of the owners; many of the grave-stones have been broken, and more are broken every year; brambles abound instead of shrubbery; and what might be a beautiful cemetery is converted into a common passage-way.“Unfitting is it, indeed, that the sod beneath which rest the ashes of a Shepard, a Dunster, and a Michel, should be rioted over by every vagrant schoolboy,” he wrote, presumably referring to Harvard undergraduates.Pictured here is a tombstone with the name Wadsworth. Benjamin Wadsworth was the College’s eighth president.African-Americans in colonial CambridgeThe Old Burying Ground also serves as reminder that despite the anti-slavery attitudes of many (but not all) of their 19th-century descendants, people in 17th-century Massachusetts were deeply involved with the enslavement of Africans. Presidents such as Increase Mather and Wadsworth are known to have owned slaves. It is in Wadsworth’s house, today situated next to Holyoke Gate along Massachusetts Avenue, where his several slaves likely lived and worked.It is also likely that slavery existed at the College’s outset, according to the study “Harvard and Slavery: Seeking a Forgotten History” authored by Laird Bell Professor of History Sven Beckert, Katherine Stevens, and the students of the Harvard and Slavery Research Seminar.“In 1639 the wife of Harvard’s first schoolmaster, Nathaniel Eaton, confessed to a committee that her husband had mismanaged the college,” they write. “Among the offenses of his tenure was the time a person she called ‘the Moor’ slept in student Samuel Hough’s ‘sheet and pillow-bier.’ She also admitted that students complained about having to eat the same food as ‘the Moor.’ Drawn from the Spanish name for North Africans, ‘Moor’ was a common term for African slaves.”Enslaved men and women played key roles in the early years of Cambridge and Harvard. “In daily, uncountable, and often unnoticed ways, these slaves supported life and learning on Harvard’s campus,” they conclude.Two headstones in the Old Burying Ground testify to the presence of enslaved women. The first, a small slate stone, curved at the top and adorned with a skull and wings, reads: “Here lyes the body of Cicely, Negro, late Servant to the Reverend Minister William Brattle; she died April 8. 1714. Being 15 years old.”Brattle was a 1680 graduate of the College who, alongside the future President Leverett, took an active teaching and leadership role at Harvard while then-President Mather was in England for several years. Today’s Brattle House, Brattle Street, and Brattleboro, Vt., are named for his son, General William Brattle.By contrast, we know nothing of Cicely’s young life, other than what we can assume. The Rev. Brattle died in 1717 and, like Cicely, was laid to rest in the Old Burying Ground. Unequal in life, they achieved equality in death.A similar gravestone reads: “Jane a Negro Servant. to Andrew Bordman Esquire Died 1740/1 Aged 22 years & 3 Months.”The Bordmans had long and deep connections to Harvard and Cambridge. Two adult Andrew Bordmans were alive in 1740. Andrew Bordman II (1670-1747) served as Harvard steward from 1703 to 1747. Much like today’s Office of Student Life, the steward managed residential operations, purchasing supplies, and supervising staff. His son, Andrew Bordman III (1701-1769), graduated from the College in 1719 and also served as Harvard steward from 1747 to 1750. Both were prominent members of the community, each serving as town clerk and town treasurer.Cicely and Jane’s graves are solid evidence that slavery existed, and even thrived among the highest echelons of Cambridge society, until after the American Revolution. Harvard’s connections to slavery weren’t fully severed until the American Civil War.A precarious existenceLife in the 17th century, particularly amid frontier conditions, was precarious. Graveyard epitaphs speak to the lives and deaths of hundreds of Cambridge residents, old and young. But perhaps the most moving today are those dedicated to children.Indeed, child mortality — like death generally — was heartbreakingly commonplace in colonial Cambridge, even among the families of Harvard’s presidents and faculty, who would have had access to the best nutrition and medical care available.“Childhood mortality was a significant component of family life,” Shoemaker said. “You would assume that only a percentage of the family was going to survive, and it wasn’t anything close to 100 percent.”The family of John Leverett represents but one example: “Here lyes inter’d two infant children of the Reverend Minister John & Mrs. Margaret Leverett. John Leverett, born 21st June and Died the 4th of July Anno Dom. 1711. Anne Leverett Born 5th July, and Died the 30th. of the same month Anno Dom. 1708.”The deaths in their infancy of these two children came only years after that of their older sister Margaret, who died in 1702. Leverett’s fourth child, also named Margaret, died in 1716. All were interred in the cemetery. Two daughters who survived him — Sarah Leverett Wigglesworth and Mary Leverett Rogers — are buried nearby. A tablet marking the resting place of his wife, Margaret, daughter of Harvard’s fifth president, John Rogers, can still be seen today on the side of Leverett’s tomb.The Puritans altered their theological approach to death to make it possible to believe that children who died young could be saved. According to Shoemaker, in order to become a full member of the church and thereby gain entry to heaven, an individual needed to have conversion experience. Children, especially infants, lacked that opportunity, and were therefore threatened with eternal damnation.The tombstone for Urian Oakes remains intact. “A lot of these table tombs conceal a flight of steps and a vault underground,” said Charles Sullivan. “Inside, there are shelves on either side” where the remains were placed.“They couldn’t have a theological system that was telling these people that your child was burning in hell. They designed a formula to allow grace to extend to those who hadn’t reached that point,” said Shoemaker.Noting that New England’s population grew rapidly during and after the period, Joyce Chaplin, the James Duncan Phillips Professor of Early American History, cautioned that the rate of childhood deaths, or even deaths among settlers generally, should be considered in context.“New England would become famous for its rapid rate of increase. In the settler population, births vastly outnumber deaths,” Chaplin said. “This is in contrast to the steep decline of native American populations. Indian graveyards are not as carefully memorialized, which gives a misleading sense of who matters historically.”The last two centuriesFor the Old Burying Ground, the last two centuries represented a slow retreat from relevance. As Mount Auburn Cemetery became the third burial site in Cambridge, new interments slowed. Among the last were 19 bodies identified as Revolutionary War soldiers — including two slaves — who had died fighting the British at the Battle of Bunker Hill. The Cambridge Common had been a staging area for militiamen who had traveled to Boston from across the region after the first shots were fired at Lexington and Concord. Much larger at the time, the Common was ideal for a makeshift army camp.Buried in haste, the soldiers’ graves remained unmarked until Eben Horsford, baking powder magnate and Rumford Professor and Lecturer on the Application of Science to the Useful Arts, decided to locate them.“He dug … up some remains that he imagined without any real evidence must have been Minutemen,” Sullivan recounted. “That’s why the monument was placed in that section of the cemetery.”The grass above the graves was often tended by sheep, as grazing rights were regularly bid out in exchange for pay or services.Two headstones in the Old Burying Ground testify to the presence of enslaved women. The first, a small slate stone, curved at the top and adorned with a skull and wings, reads: “Here lyes the body of Cicely, Negro, late Servant to the Reverend Minister William Brattle; she died April 8. 1714. Being 15 years old.”In the 1930s, a commission including Morison and Harvard President James Conant re-landscaped the Old Burying Ground, rescuing it from oblivion and giving it its current appearance. The work was funded by Depression-era federal grants designed to create jobs and lift the economy.The last known burials in the cemetery were of the Rev. Samuel McChord Crothers in 1927 and, more than half a century later, Gardiner Day, the minister of Christ Church. Day’s marker can be seen underfoot just inside the gate that leads to Christ Church.While disused as a cemetery, the Old Burying Ground still gets new — or returning — additions from time to time.“People will call us up and say: ‘I have this friend who has this gravestone. He doesn’t know why he has it. But he wants to give it back to you.’” Sullivan said, referring to the Cambridge Historical Commission. “Not him, of course. His friend,” he added with a wry smile. “It’s one of the weird things about living in a college town. People get crazy and want to take a souvenir.”last_img read more

Praise for Gov. Wolf’s Action to Combat Climate Crisis

first_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitter October 07, 2019 Environment,  Press Release Harrisburg, PA – Advocacy groups, leaders and neighboring states praised Governor Tom Wolf for signing an executive order Thursday that begins the steps necessary for Pennsylvania to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a regional cap-and-trade program that limits carbon dioxide emissions.“Pennsylvania innovation powered the industrial revolution, and now we will be a leader in powering a cleaner Earth,” said Gov. Wolf. “I’m proud to be joining our neighbors in reducing carbon dioxide emissions in our region while continuing to build a robust energy sector.”Groups and individuals that have praised Gov. Wolf’s executive order include:New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy“Thrilled to welcome @PennsylvaniaGov to RGGI! In the face of federal inaction, it’s more important than ever for states to tackle climate change and build clean energy economies together. Thank you, @GovernorTomWolf, for joining this fight for a more sustainable future.”New York Governor Andrew Cuomo“We are in a race to save the planet. It’s great to have @governortomwolf and our PA neighbors join us in one of the most effective efforts to transition to the clean energy economy.”Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, and Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg“Great to see @GovernorTomWolf and PA take a major step on climate pollution. While the Trump Administration tries to drag us backwards, states and cities are pressing ahead.”National Wildlife Federation President Collin O’Mara“Incredible climate leadership displayed by @GovernorTomWolf directing @PennsylvaniaDEP to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative! This is a common-sense, economically-sound approach that will both reduce carbon pollution & create well-paying jobs.”Sierra Club“Big news out of Pennsylvania this morning! We applaud @GovernorTomWolf for signing an executive order that will kick-start the process of Pennsylvania joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.”Penn Future“PennFuture was proud to stand with Gov. Wolf as he signed an executive order to bring Pennsylvania into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.”Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa“Today’s executive order is a strong display of leadership from the Governor on one of the most serious issues facing Pennsylvania, this nation, and the world. Leadership from the federal government is not coming on climate change, and we can’t afford to wait.“I introduced Senate Bill 15 as a legislative option for Pennsylvania to join RGGI, and I’ll continue to push for that. I stand with Governor Wolf and all champions for clean air as we work together to find creative, forward-thinking solutions for Pennsylvania.”Sen. John Yudichak“I applaud Governor Wolf for initiating the important conversation about Pennsylvania’s entry into RGGI which will put Pennsylvania at the forefront of addressing climate change. Climate change is a real, priority level one threat to our environment that deserves the full attention of the legislature that this executive action will require. As DEP begins their outreach, it will be vitally important for them to have an open dialogue with the legislature and I look forward to participating in discussions to effectively and swiftly deal with climate change.”Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney“Our state will be a leader in addressing this climate emergency—one of the most critical issues in the world today.“Thank you to @GovernorTomWolf for taking this bold and necessary step.”Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto“By creating a market-based approach for investment in building energy efficiency, locally-sourced clean and renewable power generation and emissions reduction, Governor Wolf is helping to further innovation, create green jobs and respond strongly to the challenge of climate change.“Locally, Pennsylvania’s inclusion in RGGI will provide Pittsburgh a great resource to help advance the City’s 2030 climate targets of 50 percent emissions reduction and 100 percent renewable energy.”Clean Air Council Executive Director and Chief Counsel Joseph Otis Minott Esq.“Clean Air Council strongly supports Governor Wolf’s Executive Order on RGGI announced this morning, and we thank him for showing leadership on this critical issue. The administration has considerable and flexible legal authority under the Air Pollution Control Act to take this step, and we applaud the governor for doing so. Climate change is an existential threat to us all, and we are already seeing the devastating impacts play out across Pennsylvania each and every day. With one of the dirtiest electric power sectors in the country, Pennsylvania starting down the path of joining RGGI represents real progress in our efforts to achieve Governor Wolf’s emissions reduction goals.“Our power sector is responsible for over one-third of Pennsylvania’s net greenhouse gas emissions and, for deep decarbonization efforts to work, the electric sector is absolutely key to the process. We have also seen other RGGI states make critical investments in solar, wind, and energy efficiency, while achieving broad-based benefits for their residents. We look forward to working with the Wolf administration and all stakeholders as this important rulemaking process moves ahead, achieving similar successes that benefit all Pennsylvanians, especially low-income ratepayers.”Natural Resources Defense Council“Great news out of PA! Turning away from its fossil fuel past, the Keystone State is preparing to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative—a significant win for our climate and public health.”Nuclear Powers Pennsylvania Member and Senior Vice President of Framatome Inc. Tony Robinson“Members of our statewide coalition thank Gov. Wolf for his leadership on this critical issue. Pennsylvania is the fourth-largest producer of carbon dioxide emissions in the nation, so joining RGGI is a logical and commendable step for Pennsylvania. We further believe this has great potential to properly value the carbon-free benefits of nuclear energy in the Commonwealth and could perhaps be part of the solution that would prevent the premature closure of the Beaver Valley Power Station now scheduled for 2021.”Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance (KEEA) Executive Director Matt Elliott“KEEA applauds Governor Wolf for taking this bold step for Pennsylvania’s energy future. As a trade association representing nearly 70 companies engaged in the energy efficiency industry, KEEA member businesses stand ready to help meet the goals of the climate policy by helping Pennsylvania businesses and households save on their energy bills with more efficient appliances, buildings, lighting, and more.“By not participating in RGGI, Pennsylvania has been leaving money on the table and forgoing economic development opportunities for years. But we have to get this right: investing RGGI revenue back into energy efficiency programs for businesses and residents is the only way to save consumers money and grow the economy while maximizing reductions to carbon pollution. We look forward to working with Governor Wolf and the Legislature to seize this opportunity and make an historic investment into energy efficiency in Pennsylvania.”Clean Power PA Coalition“Today’s announcement is one we had been hoping was the next step in Governor Wolf’s plan to make Pennsylvania a leader on climate solutions, following an Executive Order setting carbon emissions reduction goals for the first time as well as a commitment to participation in the U.S. Climate Alliance. We look forward to working with Governor Wolf to ensure the success of RGGI in Pennsylvania and a brighter future for all its residents.”Pennsylvania Environmental Council“Governor Wolf’s proposal to bring Pennsylvania into the Regional Greenhouse Initiative (RGGI), announced today, is the first concrete and meaningful step that the Commonwealth has taken to directly address its role in exacerbating climate change. For that, the Governor is to be congratulated.”PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center Executive Director David Masur“We applaud Gov. Wolf for this important act. RGGI is a valuable program that offers key mechanisms for reducing pollution and fighting climate change. Joining our neighboring states to the north, east and south in this alliance can create a healthier, more vibrant region with clean air that transcends borders.“After the climate strikes and U.N. Climate Summit in recent weeks, many Pennsylvanians wondered what could be done right here in our state. Gov. Wolf is providing a bold answer. Given a choice between living in the past with dirty fuels or being on the right side of history, Pennsylvania’s leaders are showing they’re ready to do what’s right and protect our communities and future generations across the state.”Environment America Research & Policy Center Senior Director for Global Warming Solutions Campaign Andrea McGimsey“The expected announcement by Gov. Wolf marks a key milestone for Pennsylvania. RGGI has proven to be a crucial tool in reducing pollution from fossil fuel power plants, and it is a critical and significant response to global warming.“Climate change is the defining issue of our time, and we need to fight it with every tool at our disposal. The expansion of RGGI is a big step forward, but we can’t stop there. We call on Pennsylvania’s leaders to build on this momentum and take the next logical steps, including a stronger commitment to renewable energy and climate-friendly transportation. With those efforts, the commonwealth can solidify its position as a national leader on this vital issue.”Conservation Voters of PA Executive Director Josh McNeil“For centuries, Pennsylvania has been among the world’s worst carbon polluters, but today Governor Wolf took a vital step towards a better future. Joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative will make our Commonwealth cleaner and more prosperous, while offering hope to our kids and grandkids. There is still tremendous work to do to implement this plan and miles to go to stave off climate change, but when future generations look back and judge our actions, today will be a day we can all be proud of.”Ceres Senior Manager of State Policy Alli Gold Roberts“While joining RGGI is an important first step, we know that it is not enough to mitigate the impacts of climate change and transition to a thriving clean energy economy. We urge state lawmakers to expand complementary policies that ensure clean energy investments happen in Pennsylvania and provide a just transition for communities and industries. With forward-thinking policies in place, the Commonwealth will be well positioned to capture the economic benefits of the clean energy and clean transportation future. Ceres looks forward to working with state leaders on both sides of the aisle to implement RGGI while growing local jobs and investments in clean energy, in a way that works for Pennsylvania’s residents and businesses alike.”New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos“Congratulations to Pennsylvania @GovernorTomWolf for joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. #RGGI has been a powerful tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; now stronger with PA’s involvment. Kudos @PennsylvaniaDEP. @NYGovCuomo @NYSDEC @NYSERDA @abartontweets”New York State Energy Research and Development Authority“Welcome @GovernorTomWolf and @PennsylvaniaDEP to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). We look forward to working together in lowering greenhouse gas emissions and fighting climate change.”Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp“Decisive, concrete action from @GovernorTomWolf. Excellent. Development of regs will lead to tangible reductions in Pennsylvania’s climate pollution. We need less rhetoric, more action like this.”Professor and Director of the Penn State Penn State Earth System Science Center Michael E. Mann“Kudos to @GovernorTomWolf for signing an executive order this morning instructing the Pennsylvania DEP to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)!”Evangelical Environmental Network President the Rev. Mitch Hescox“We are grateful for Governor Wolf’s leadership and hope the General Assembly will join him in support of RGGI. With the General Assembly working with the Governor, the estimated $350 million in RGGI receipts could be used to support Pennsylvania’s nuclear fleet, energy efficiency, and to help clean up Pennsylvania’s dirty air to benefit our children’s health and improve their quality of life. RGGI is a market-based plan that all conservatives should embrace for a thriving, clean, and healthy future that includes the protection of low-income families.”To see the steps being taken, view the full Executive Order.center_img Praise for Gov. Wolf’s Action to Combat Climate Crisislast_img read more