The Delaware River is critical to the health and welfare of our families, our communities, and wildlife. The longest undammed river east of the Mississippi, the Delaware traverses four states – New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware – and its watershed supplies drinking water to more than 15 million people, including residents of New York City and Philadelphia.
Today, much of the Delaware River is clean enough for fishing and swimming. But, it wasn’t always that way. In the 1950s, the urban portion of the Delaware River was one of the most polluted stretches of river in the world. It took the dedicated work of local, state and federal governments – along with local residents – to turn the tide and begin the long process of restoring the Delaware to health.
Despite decades of progress under the Clean Air Act, Americans across the country continue to breathe unhealthy air, leading to increased risk of premature death, asthma attacks and other adverse health impacts.
Solar power grew at a record-breaking pace in 2016. The United States now has 42 gigawatts (GW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) energy capacity, enough to power 8.3 million homes and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 52.3 million metric tons annually.1 Hundreds of thousands of Americans, especially in our cities, have invested in their own solar panels or solar projects in their communities and millions more are ready to join them.
To tackle the climate crisis, we need to quickly shift away from dirty fossil fuels and towards 100 percent renewable energy. The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states are leading the way with the best regional clean air and climate protection program in the country: the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
Environment New York Research and Policy Center is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change.