Environmental activists submitted a petition to Pennsylvania Speaker of the House Mike Turzai on Tuesday calling on the Republican leader to remove the chairman of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.
The request by the Better Path Coalition comes a little more than a year after state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Cranberry Township, was moved from the House State Government Committee to the panel that oversees natural resources and energy development in the state. In a news release on Tuesday, the organization said it represented nearly 40 groups and the petition contained more than 5,500 signatures.
In his tenure leading the committee, Metcalfe has taken aim at Gov. Tom Wolf, calling him a “rogue governor” for trying to get the state to join a regional climate agreement with other mid-Atlantic and New England states.
He’s also rebuked a fellow committee member and an environmental advocate who opined in testimony before the committee that inviting climate change skeptics was akin to debating whether the Sandy Hook shootings happened or if Caucasians are the superior race.
Better Path Co-Founder Karen Feridun said in the release that the group submitted the petition because Turzai himself admitted in a debate two years ago that he believes in climate change.
“If Speaker Turzai is sincere in acknowledging the need to address climate change, then he has to see that Rep. Metcalfe is not the right person to control what climate bills move through the legislature,” Feridun said.
Better Path claims that Metcalfe for a period dating back more than a decade has offered positions on climate change it deems as unacceptable. As such, the group said, he does not deserve to sit as the committee’s chairman.
Back in 2009, the group claims, Metcalfe, a military veteran, said any other veteran who promotes “leftist propaganda” surrounding climate change is a traitor to their country along the lines of Benedict Arnold.
A message to Speaker Turzai’s office was not returned as of early Tuesday evening.
In a YouTube video op-ed posted last month, Metcalfe called the petition an “unwarranted personal attack from the deep-pocketed climate alarmists lobby.” He said no other lawmaker has ever been targeted for ouster who has not been tainted by scandal or a criminal investigation.
“I make no apologies for advancing only winning Republican policies through my Republican-majority committee,” he said. “And I refuse to back down or be intimidated by any of these socialist mobs or their reprehensible, fake, fear-generating tactics.”