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Biden administration moves to protect Alaska wilderness; opening statements and first witness in NY trial; SCOTUS hears Starbucks case, with implications for unions on the line; rural North Carolina town gets pathway to home ownership.

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The Supreme Court weighs cities ability to manage a growing homelessness crisis, anti-Israeli protests spread to college campuses nationwide, and more states consider legislation to ban firearms at voting sites and ballot drop boxes.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

Clean energy groups blast PA hydrogen hubs plan

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Monday, October 30, 2023   

Pennsylvania is set to host two regional hydrogen power-generation hubs and experts on clean energy are speaking out against one of them, arguing it will only prolong the state's dependence on natural gas, a fossil fuel.

The feds just announced announced almost $1.7 billion for the hubs to generate, transport and use hydrogen gas, which has applications in steel making, aviation and transportation.

Sean O'Leary, senior researcher at the Ohio River Valley Institute, a think tank focused on job growth and clean energy, noted the ARCH2 hub, with facilities in Appalachia, will produce so-called blue hydrogen.

"Blue hydrogen, which is hydrogen made from natural gas, is still polluting and will soon cost more than genuinely clean hydrogen that's made from water," O'Leary explained. "It further locks our region into a natural-gas industry."

Gov. Josh Shapiro defended the hydrogen hub plan, saying it will create jobs and position Pennsylvania as a leader in the growing hydrogen industry. The Ohio River Valley Institute's Clean Energy Pathway report, released last December, laid out a different vision, to avoid expensive investments in natural gas and carbon capture, instead emphasizing renewable energy such as wind and solar, plus electrification of buildings and the transportation sector, and energy-efficiency programs.

O'Leary argued Pennsylvania policymakers should shift their focus away from fossil fuels and toward a true clean energy transition.

"But leaders in our area have been so distracted by chasing funds on behalf of the natural-gas and coal industries," O'Leary contended. "They haven't paid much attention or devoted much effort to pursuing those funds. That would do a lot more good."

The Mid-Atlantic Clean Hydrogen Hub, known as MACH2, will be based in the Philadelphia region and will produce so-called "green" hydrogen via electrolysis of water and "pink" hydrogen from nuclear sources.

Disclosure: The Ohio River Valley Institute contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, and Public Lands/Wilderness. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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