Stories in Pennsylvania

Government Relations and Policy in Pennsylvania

Photo of a large stone building with a circular pillar in the center.
Keystone State The Pennsylvania State Capitol located in Harrisburg. © Carol Highsmith/Library of Congress

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) advances policy solutions that work for people and nature in the U.S. and in countries around the world. Our policy recommendations are drawn from the hands-on experience of decades of working with people from all walks of life, with businesses and industries, and with governments from the local, national and global levels.

Among U.S. states, Pennsylvania is a top contributor to the emissions that cause climate change. This is due in large part to its status as the country's top net electricity exporter, supplying fossil fuel-generated power to many states in our region. We're also a leading contributor to emissions from industrial processes and transportation. Meaningful change—and progress toward TNC’s global 2030 goals—starts in Pennsylvania.

Inspiring Climate Action for Pennsylvania

The Nature Conservancy in Pennsylvania supports policy action consistent with a 30% carbon reduction by 2030 and net-zero emissions across all sectors by 2050. 

A white car sits in a lot plugged into an electric charging station.
Electric Vehicles Our Hauser Nature Center in Long Pond is home to two public electric vehicle charging stations. © Melisa Soysal/TNC

We work with local, state and federal legislators to accelerate the deployment of conservation-compatible zero-emission energy and will provide the tools to make clean energy equitable and accessible for all Pennsylvanians.

Recent Pennsylvania Climate Action Win:

TNC in PA & DE spearheaded a massive grassroots mobilization to preserve Pennsylvania’s path to joining RGGI. TNC PA & DE trustees reached out to their elected leaders as constituents, and TNC members and donors from across Erie, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Harrisburg responded to email appeals to send letters voicing their concerns.

Healthy Lands

Pennsylvania prioritizes consistent, long-term and increasing budget appropriations to support land investment in land conservation and management of resilient and connected public and private lands.

Sun shines through a dense forest creating a golden glow.
Canaan Valley Sun shines down into an Appalachian forest. © Kent Mason

The Keystone State is home to critical portions of the Appalachian Range, a globally significant landscape, and one of TNC's Global Focal Places. This system is one of the most climate-resilient and biologically diverse networks of connected lands in the world. It currently stores more than half of North America's above-ground carbon, making it a global carbon sink. The Allegheny Front, the Kittatinny Ridge and the Pennsylvania Wilds are key connectors of this system in Pennsylvania and these critical areas are vital to the integrity of this system and its services to people and local economies and for maintaining and restoring biodiversity. 

Active management and forest restoration activities are critical to conserving and managing these exceptional focal landscapes and mitigating the threats posed by climate change and habitat fragmentation.

Recent Healthy Lands Win:

Pennsylvania passed a massive “Conservation Budget” in 2022 the largest investment in conservation in our commonwealth in over 15 years. TNC in PA & DE worked with partners to mobilize over 2,500 constituent phone calls to members of The Pennsylvania General Assembly in support of its passage. 

Healthy Waters

TNC encourages actions to protect, restore and invest in a host of nature-based solutions to repair and restore our freshwater for people and nature. Nature-based solutions provide many benefits including flood risk reduction, climate resiliency, improved water quality, access to healthy green space and better habitat for plants and animals.

A stream flows to the left surrounded by bright green growth.
Muncy Creek Muncy Creek in Lycoming Co is a part of the Susquehanna River drainage basin and flows into the Chesapeake Bay. © Nicholas Tonelli

We work in the Chesapeake and Delaware watersheds to ensure our forested headwaters, green spaces, streams, floodplains and wetlands remain healthy and viable habitats for biodiversity and continue to provide clean drinking water and flood mitigation. We work with farmers to ensure that agricultural practices benefit both people and nature. We also work in cities, partnering with communities to implement green stormwater infrastructure that improves water quality and benefits underserved neighborhoods.

State policies that ensure resources, technical assistance, planning and capacity to commit to these strategies are essential. State regulations must also recognize and encourage implementing nature-based solutions as pathways for compliance.

From Pennsylvania to Washington, D.C.

In D.C. we will work to progress federal policies that align with our priorities: climate action, healthy lands and healthy waters for Pennsylvania. Our goal for effective climate change mitigation requires smart climate policies that will reduce carbon emissions and invest in clean energy. We will advocate for legislation that protects public lands and forests, as well as bills that provide robust federal funding for conservation programs. And to protect Pennsylvania’s waters, we’ll champion federal policies that safeguard waterways and that invest in nature-based solutions to address communities’ infrastructure needs.

Meet the Team

Meet the team helping to make this incredible work across Pennsylvania possible.

A headshot of Evan Endres.
Evan Endres Climate and Energy Policy Manager, The Nature Conservancy in Pennsylvania & Delaware © courtesy Evan Endres

Pennsylvania Director of Government Relations & Policy

Evan Endres

Evan leads our state policy development and engagement strategy with state-elected leaders and agencies in Pennsylvania. He works to develop our overall Pennsylvania Government Relations Strategy to advance TNC's goals to fight climate change and biodiversity loss and build a healthy future for nature and people.

Email: evan.endres@tnc.org

A headshot of Michelle Giles.
Michelle Giles Pennsylvania Federal Policy Manager © Melisa Soysal/TNC

Pennsylvania Federal Policy Manager

Michelle Giles

Michelle serves as the federal lobbyist to Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation. Through meetings with legislators and their staff, she seeks to influence policy in order to move us closer to reaching TNC’s 2030 goals.

Email: michelle.giles@tnc.org

Headshot of Daniel Mayer.
Daniel Mayer Policy Advocacy and Outreach Associate © Courtesy of Daniel Mayer

Policy Advocacy & Outreach Associate

Dan Mayer

Dan works on our Government Relations and Policy team. He helps develop engaging advocacy and policy content while also helping to maintain coalitions, legislative relationships and partnerships.

Email: Daniel.mayer@tnc.org