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Could Pennsylvania Join California in Suing Big Oil?

With the declaration, “Enough is enough,” California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced his state was suing five major oil companies. Now some in Pennsylvania are pushing for the commonwealth to side with California.

While there has been no action from the Attorney General’s Office, David Zeballos with the Center for Climate Integrity (CCI) wants the Keystone State to jump in on the Golden State’s side.

“State and local leaders have an important role to play in supporting these accountability efforts and making polluters pay for the damage they have caused,” he said on October 2 at the Pennsylvania Capitol. “You can lead the charge to calculate local climate change adaptation costs, condemn climate disinformation, raise awareness for urgent action on the climate crisis, and much more. The fossil fuel industry knowingly caused the climate crisis and continues to profit from climate pollution while our communities pay the price.”

CCI is considered the main driver of the civil lawsuits against ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips. California cited the nonprofit several times in court papers. There are reports suggesting CCI is working with other states and cities on their climate-related lawsuits. CCI President Richard Wiles has also suggested more government-backed suits may be on the horizon.

In Pennsylvania, a Big Oil lawsuit enjoys support from state Rep. Christopher M. Rabb (D-Philadelphia County). He cited the Center for Climate Integrity in August when complaining about the warmer-than-usual summer. Rabb vowed it was time to “make Big Oil pay” for the changing weather.

“Just a few weeks ago, intense rains caused flash flooding in my district of Philadelphia and beyond, killing at least six people in Bucks County,” he said. “Pennsylvania communities have an opportunity to sue Big Oil and protect our residents from being stuck with the bill to adapt to the climate crisis that Big Oil created. The worsening impacts of this climate crisis will continue whether we’re ready or not. It’s time to be proactive and protect our communities.”

Fossil fuels are an important part of Pennsylvania’s economy. The state is the second largest natural gas producer in the country, behind only Texas. It is also the top East Coast supplier of natural gas, coal, and refined petroleum products, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Renewable energy provides three percent of the state’s power.

Pennsylvania isn’t involved in any suits against Big Oil, and there’s no word if Gov. Josh Shapiro’s administration would even consider it.

The Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association hopes Rabb will stay away from litigation. “The radical greens are attempting to overthrow our modern civilization,” PMA President and CEO David Taylor told DVJournal. “Their allies in the litigation industry are trying to extort money out of the productive sector. Either way, it’s a war on society via the courts, also known as ‘lawfare’.”

Taylor sees the suits as “the stupidest kind of politics” because they are going after an industry “that makes modern life possible.” He points out that environmentalists forget that fossil fuels are used for more than just vehicles and heating.

“Electric cars require a ton of rare earth minerals that have to be mined, processed, and transported from the other side of the world, using massive earth-moving equipment, refineries, and ships,” he said. “The rest of the car is metal, plastic, and synthetic rubber. The road is concrete, which is made from cement. The road is then coated in asphalt, which is a petroleum product. It is then striped with paint, which is another petroleum product. The idea that modern humans can live without petrochemicals and hydrocarbons is insane.”

The suits have run into mixed results in courts. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out New York City’s lawsuit in 2021, saying states didn’t have jurisdiction. The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to move other suits to federal court. Justices are expected to rule on whether Minnesota’s Big Oil suit moves to federal court in the near future.

“Anyone blaming fossil fuels should stop using them,” Taylor quipped. “Good luck.”


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DelVal Democrat Backs Assisted Suicide Bill

State Rep. Melissa Shusterman (D-Chester/Montgomery) is backing a bill to legalize euthanasia in the Keystone State.

The legislation is modeled on Oregon’s so-called “Death With Dignity” law, advocates say. It would require patients who use assisted suicide to be terminally ill with less than six months to live. Those who are not terminal or are mentally ill would be prohibited from using it.

“Individuals with terminal illnesses are often in tremendous pain and continue to be until their last breath,” said Shusterman. “These individuals should have the right to choose what is best for them, even if that choice is to end their lives peacefully and on their own terms. We want to provide a medical option for the terminally ill and also ensure safeguards are in place to prevent abuse.”

Oregon’s law permits terminally ill patients to take a lethal dose of medication prescribed by a physician. They must be terminally ill with less than six months to live.

Other sponsors include Philadelphia Reps. Tarik Khan, Christopher Rabb, and Jose Giral along with Mark Rozzi of Berks and Carol Hill-Evans of York.

The proposal faces plenty of pushback, even within Shusterman’s own party.

“Where is the Hippocratic Oath, ‘First, do no harm,’ in the Pennsylvania House?” asks The Rev. William Devlin, Ph.D. a former Philadelphia Democratic committeeman who lives in Upper Moreland.

“These legislators not only have a penchant for the death of those who are elderly, and perhaps the young with a terminally ill disease, but they also have a penchant for death for unborn children. Sadly, their philosophy and penchant for the aroma of death should constitutionally and legislatively be rejected.”

The legislation’s sponsors released a statement calling their approach “compassionate.”

“Our legislation would legalize compassionate aid in dying for terminally ill Pennsylvanians. These individuals, facing unbearable and unrelieved suffering in their final days, would be able to request a prescription that would end their life in a dignified, humane manner that respects the individual’s autonomy and self-determination,” they wrote.

Local pro-life activist and frequent DVJournal contributor Christine Flowers disagreed.

“As someone who watched a beloved father fight for his life, finding value even in the darkest moments of his final, prolonged journey, and as a woman who sees value in life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death, I am repelled and horrified by the nihilism of these legislators.

“They are not speaking the language of compassion, but rather the language of expedience,” Flowers added.

Critics also point to reports that Oregon’s law has turned it into America’s first ‘Death Tourism’ destination with people traveling to take advantage of the assisted suicide policy.

“Oregon’s nascent ‘death tourism’ industry, and efforts to create another in Vermont, show how the U.S. is on a slippery slope to following in Canada’s footsteps—where lax rules have allowed people with so little as hearing loss to be euthanized,” writes the Daily Mail.

That country’s first euthanasia laws were similar to those in some states and the proposed Pennsylvania law, which would limit euthanasia to the terminally ill. But the practice soon expanded. Canada now may extend the deadly practice to the mentally ill, the disabled, and even children.

There are also concerns that once assisted suicide is in place, patients near the end of their natural life may face pressure to accept a premature death.

Tom Stevens, executive director of the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia, said his organization will “vigorously” oppose this legislation.

“We’re very concerned about bills like this,” said Stevens. “Basically, it’s misdirected compassion. As soon as you start to say somebody’s life is so terrible that they would be better off dead, it’s an extremely slippery, slippery slope.”

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Dems Circulate ‘Sedition Free Pennsylvania’ Legislation on Eve of January 6 Hearing

If you were at the riot at the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, 2021, two Philadelphia Democrats are coming for you.

State Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta and Christopher Rabb are circulating the “Sedition Free Pennsylvania” bill to amend the state constitution and bar people convicted of sedition from holding office or receiving government contracts. Their proposal would also create a new criminal offense, “seditious conspiracy against the commonwealth” and penalties for it.

Kenyatta, who ran against Lt. Gov. John Fetterman U.S. Senate Democratic primary, acknowledged to Delaware Valley Journal the bill is aimed at keeping people out of government who were involved in the January 6 incident. The most obvious target: state Sen. Doug Mastriano, who is the GOP’s nominee for governor. It would also impact Kathy Barnette, who was a Republican contender for the U.S. Senate and lost the nomination to Dr. Mehmet Oz.

The announcement was also timed just ahead of a prime-time hearing by the U.S. House January 6 Committee on Thursday, Kenyatta said.

“Pennsylvania is second in the country in terms of individuals who went to the insurrection” on January 6, Kenyatta said. “Senate candidate Kathy Barnette went to the rally.” And Mastriano “is testifying before the January 6 committee.”

“It was not your typical Capitol tour,” Kenyatta said. “If you were involved with violent sedition against the country you should not lead the state… and you should not get government contracts.”

Kenyatta expects the Congressional hearing Thursday night to “show how serious, how dangerous” the situation was in the Capitol on January 6.

If enacted, the new constitutional amendment and companion sedition law would mark “a line drawn in the sand.”

Kenyatta denied the legislation was political and said he expects members from both parties to sign on.

Some critics of the Democrat-controlled January 6 investigation say it shows a double standard. While the people who actually entered the Capitol building and damaged property should be punished, what about the people who rioted as part of Black Lives Matter or Antifa protests over the past three years? Riots that caused billions of dollars in damage and left several people dead?

Kenyatta defended the BLM protesters, saying they were trying to prevent “extrajudicial executions in the street.” And the right to peacefully protest is “enshrined in the First Amendment.”

“They were not trying to overthrow the government,” Kenyatta said, noting that BLM and Antifa are not the same. “January 6 was not a protest.”

“All of us take an oath [to uphold the constitution],” and the people who participated in the January 6 riot “cannot live up to it. Sedition is the exact opposite,” Kenyatta said.

“We’re seeing more and more of them running for government,” he said. As for those already in office, “folks would have to leave office,” he said. “Not only can they not hold office, there’s a part of it where they cannot get government contracts.”

Kenyatta said that America’s democracy is young and “fragile.”

“This democracy needs to be protected as a small child,” he said. “We’re still a young child.”

Asked whether the person arrested Wednesday while allegedly on his way to murder Justice Brett Kavanaugh over the leaked Roe v. Wade document should be charged with sedition as well, Kenyatta said, “He has to be held accountable. January 6 inspires people” to use violence to solve political problems, he said. “I’m happy this guy was caught and Justice Kavanaugh is safe.”

As for the Supreme Court rulings that he disagrees with, Kenyatta said, “People should run for office and do what I wanted to do, which was expand the court.”

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