Mission & History
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will be a model for implementing collaborative solutions to environmental protection and restoration. This success is built from the work of partners that recognize the inextricable links between the environment, the economy and our quality of life.
The Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) protects and restores the natural and built environments through innovation, collaboration, education and advocacy. PEC believes in the value of partnerships with the private sector, government, communities and individuals to improve the quality of life for all Pennsylvanians.
The mission is accomplished through:
Innovation: PEC seeks to develop new policies, programs and projects that demonstrate unique, but replicable approaches to solving environmental problems using market-based and other non-partisan, science-driven solutions.
Collaboration: PEC believes in the power of partnerships, bringing together people and interests of diverse backgrounds to develop positive solutions to problems that address the concerns of all stakeholders.
Education: PEC promotes the understanding of environmental issues by the public, communities, organizations, public officials and other decision-makers by making unbiased and understandable information available on problems and solutions.
Advocacy: PEC is a catalyst for legislative, regulatory and policy change by public and private decision-makers to advance solutions that are in the best environmental and economic interests of the Commonwealth.
In 1969, a group of Pennsylvanians gathered in State College to discuss the establishment of a statewide environmental “coordinating organization” to which individuals, other organizations, government, and business and industry could turn for information on environmental issues. The group also discussed the establishment of a parallel non-partisan lobbying organization.
On January 30, 1970, the articles of incorporation for these two organizations—the Environmental Planning and Information Center of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council—were signed.
PEC and EPIC were established to keep the research and lobbying efforts separate to conform with federal tax laws, but they operated from the same offices and worked closely together. In the mid-1980s, however, the Pennsylvania Environmental Research Foundation, as EPIC was renamed in 1973, was merged into PEC. The merger resulted in the multi-dimensional PEC we know today, joining policy work with on-the-ground and education projects.
Through the 1970s and into the second half of the 1980s, PEC’s primary activities were legislative, regulatory advocacy and analysis and holding multiple conferences each year on environmental issues. The organization worked to bring all sides on environmental issues to the table to search for common ground, and played a significant role in the development, passage and implementation of landmark environmental legislation and regulation in Pennsylvania—a tradition carried on today.
The organization grew in the 1980s and expanded to include programs and on-the-ground projects that demonstrated elements of the environmental policies and approaches it was advocating in Harrisburg. Through the 1990s, this two-pronged approach matured and ripened, as the Council’s rich menu of programs grew. Today, PEC has four regional offices and a staff of 25.