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Time to Move on Bold, New Clean Energy Plan for Pennsylvania

The commonwealth, with its highly skilled union workforce and infrastructure, should be at the forefront of the clean energy transition.
Climate Strike and March in Downtown Pittsburgh, September 2019. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Pennsylvania stands at a crossroads.

For generations, our industrial might has powered our nation and our world through the industrial revolution and into the modern era.

But we’re now in a global competition to lead the industries of tomorrow, and we need swift action from our state legislature to ensure that we don’t get left behind.

President Biden’s Affordable Clean Energy Law is investing hundreds of billions of dollars to combat climate change by upgrading our electric grid, developing new battery technologies and building and installing the solar panels and wind turbines that will power our economy into the future.

These investments are critical to heading off a climate catastrophe.

They’re also creating thousands of union jobs and revitalizing communities as new factories prepare to build electric vehicles, high-tech batteries, wind turbines and solar panels.

READ: Bucks County Takes on Big Oil for Lying About the Climate Crisis It Has Been Creating

Biden’s Affordable Clean Energy Law is also essential to ensure that the United States can compete globally against other countries that are already embracing a clean energy future and seeking to dominate these new industries.

Pennsylvania, with its highly skilled union workforce and infrastructure, should be at the forefront of the clean energy transition.

But we risk being left behind because too many politicians in Harrisburg are all too happy to put their campaign contributors in the oil and gas industry instead of their constituents.

Pennsylvania is falling further and further behind as states across the country roll out ambitious new clean energy goals designed to leverage federal investments and jumpstart union job creation and economic development in their communities. Currently, only 3 percent of Pennsylvania energy is from renewable sources, putting us 45th in the nation and well behind most of our neighbors.

Governor Shapiro ran on a platform to boost clean energy production in Pennsylvania, and now he’s delivering on that promise.

READ: Pennsylvania Can Lead the Nation to a Cleaner Future, Before It’s Too Late

Earlier this month, he stood with environmental advocates like Conservation Voters of PA and representatives from organized labor to announce a series of proposals designed to jumpstart the clean energy economy while limiting climate pollution.

Shapiro’s clean energy standards plan would put Pennsylvania on track to generate 35 percent of its energy from clean sources by 2035, while also investing hundreds of millions of dollars in projects that improve air quality, create jobs and reduce energy costs for working families and local businesses.

Shapiro’s plan would address environmental racism by cleaning the air in communities disproportionately burdened by dirty fossil fuels and by funneling resources to underserved communities.

What do we need to make this bold vision a reality?

Simple: anti-environment legislators in Harrisburg must stop standing in the way.

Pro-environment legislators, working closely with the Governor, labor and the environmental community, have already introduced bills that would implement this clean energy vision.

READ: Severe Weather Highlights Need for Swift Climate Action

Anti-environment legislators, particularly those in the state Senate, have long been allied with their campaign contributors in the oil and gas industry, and are standing in the way of progress.

That’s where voters come in.

It’s time for all of us to raise our voices and demand swift action on a plan that creates union jobs, revitalizes communities, improves public health and tackles climate change. We need to drown out the voices of corporate donors and their powerful lobbyists and demand consideration of clean energy standards in the legislature now.

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Picture of Molly Parzen

Molly Parzen

Molly Parzen is Executive Director of Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania, a statewide environmental advocacy group.

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