Pennsylvania has a pioneering energy history. The world’s first oil well was drilled in our state in the mid 1800’s, making Pennsylvania a world leader in energy production. Our coal miners fueled a world-renowned steel manufacturing industry that brought jobs and prosperity to our state. Today, Pennsylvania can continue our remarkable history by being a leader in the world’s transition to renewable energy.
The environmental consequences of burning carbon are clear: we face increasing weather chaos, rising seas, dying wildlife and displaced populations of people and animals fleeing the effects of climate change. We’ve been fed the line that fracked gas is a bridge fuel to renewables, yet there is no bridge. Rather it’s a dead end that is leaving us with continued dependence on fossil fuels, along with a 50-year debt burden from investment in fracked gas infrastructure – a decision that is increasing the danger of explosion and fire, poisoning of our water supply and releasing methane and carbon that is heating our planet.
While eminent domain is a tool meant to serve the common good, in our state it is being used to seize private land against our will only to enrich out-of-state corporations and complicit politicians. To add insult to our sacrifice, fracked gas is typically used to make plastic, further degrading our environment.
There is a viable alternative - producing electricity from clean and safe renewable resources such as solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal. With urgency, our investments must be directed full speed ahead to accelerate the growth of renewable energy to power our homes, businesses and vehicles safely and efficiently, as we join the global struggle to avoid climate catastrophe.
We urge our state legislators to:
Work with our state’s renewable energy CEOs, non-profit leaders, and leading energy scientists to develop a plan to provide 100% renewable energy to power our homes, businesses and vehicles safely and efficiently by 2050. This plan must include an imminent date for the end of all new fossil fuel infrastructure, including extraction wells and mines, pipelines, refineries, and power plants, and dates for the dismantling of the current system leading to the shut down of all fossil fuel use in our state by 2050. Include requirements for fossil fuel companies to repair the land they have spoiled.
Take immediate steps to replace gas and oil by converting state buildings to run on renewable electricity and replacing the State’s fleet with electric vehicles. Provide charging stations at every Pennsylvania Turnpike rest stop, state park, police station, and other state facilities and charge with renewable electricity.
Launch a “Solarize Pennsylvania” campaign similar to the successful “Solarize Philadelphia” campaign to help citizens install rooftop solar more affordably through group purchasing and authorization.
Pass legislation to enable community solar, where neighbors share in the ownership of a centrally located solar array, to unlock Pennsylvania’s solar potential for low and moderate-income communities across our state, and create many green jobs.