January 30, 2024

Governor Shapiro's 10 Year Economic Plan Repackages the Fossil Fuel Industry's Playbook

Governor Shapiro unveiled an economic development strategy that lacks innovation in energy production

Joint Statement from PennFuture & CVPA 


Pennsylvania's economy has been operating without a comprehensive road map for decades. While Governor Shapiro's newly announced economic development plan attempts to lead the Commonwealth toward a more prosperous future, it lacks the very innovation he claims to envision. Instead, it relies on the same tried-and-failed industries, mainly dirty fossil fuels, leading to an unstable boom-bust economy that harms our workers, our environment, and our quality of life.

For all the touting of "getting it done," this ten-year plan for economic development is nothing more than a repackaging of the fossil fuel industry's playbook in Pennsylvania.

The Governor is correct when he says Pennsylvania is falling behind in the energy sector—but not in the way he thinks. While President Biden’s climate agenda is turbocharging clean energy in states across the country, Pennsylvania is clinging to the failed fossil fuel policies of the past. Earlier this year, PennFuture and CVPA warned that by failing to diversify our energy production, we are leaving communities behind and risking Pennsylvania's promise of a cleaner, climate-resilient future. Gov. Shapiro’s roadmap represents a dead end for Pennsylvania as one of the nation’s leading energy producers because it fails to address the Commonwealth’s shortcomings in vital energy sectors like wind, solar, battery manufacturing and storage, and electric vehicle manufacturing. No effective energy strategy for Pennsylvania’s future can afford to exclude renewable energy as a top priority.

Doubling down on fossil fuel production is not innovative. It keeps us on the same track, which props up failing industries without the promise of economic prosperity for the host communities. This myopic focus on this industry has not provided sustainable economic growth for decades. Instead, this more of the same policy locks Pennsylvanians into providing life support for these dying industries through taxpayer subsidies to make up for market declines — and it puts Governor Shapiro significantly out of step with his counterparts in other states.

We are encouraged to see bright spots in this plan: leveraging outdoor recreation, investments in job training and apprenticeships, and increased investment in minority-owned businesses, for example. But, in reality, this is not a 10-year economic development plan; it is a shinier, repackaged 10-year fossil fuel development plan. A truly sustainable, modernized economy offers prosperity for current generations without sacrificing the economic and environmental success of future generations. That requires kicking Pennsylvania’s addiction to fossil fuels.

As Pennsylvania’s watchdogs for our environment, PennFuture and CVPA will fight to ensure that economic progress does not come at the expense of community health and harm to the environment, and advocate for a state economy that is driven by clean industries and family-sustaining jobs. 

We may have a statewide economic development plan for the first time in two decades, but we can do better.