March 2, 2020

PennFuture Letter to the Editor in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

This Letter to the Editor appeared in the March 1 edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Focus on renewable energy, moving Pa. forward

There are better paths forward for Pennsylvania’s economy than a strategy that relies on fracking, petrochemicals and plastics for prosperity.

Despite that, last month our elected leaders in Harrisburg saw fit to approve a bill that will dole out billions in taxpayer subsidies to the fracked gas and petrochemical industries. This legislation — called House Bill 1100 — would tie Pennsylvania’s economy to the fossil fuel industry for decades.

Why do our leaders insist on catering to extractive industries when neighboring states are choosing to invest in economically sustainable industries instead ?

In 2018, New York committed $1.5 billion to create 40,000 renewable energy jobs in the state. Those jobs don’t just help the economy; they will help New York reach its goal of using 50% renewable energy by 2030.

Look to Ohio, which is a major manufacturer of wind energy components and employs more than 113,000 people in clean-energy jobs, the eighth most in the country.

Look also at our own commonwealth. Since 2014, Pennsylvania has increased its workforce in clean technologies like renewables, energy efficiency, clean vehicles and grid modernization by nearly 60% — employing now twice as many workers as the state’s entire fossil fuel industry. There are now 90,772 clean-energy jobs across Pennsylvania.

Why, then, are our leaders still insisting on giving taxpayer handouts to dirty energy and fossil fuels? There is a better path forward, and the days of relying on heavy industry for prosperity should be behind us.

I remain hopeful that Gov. Tom Wolf will veto this horrible legislation, and that our Legislature begins incentivizing industries that provide family-sustaining jobs, long-term economic sustainability and a clean energy future instead of relying on the tried-and-failed polluting, dirty industries of the past.

Jared Stonesifer
Director of Media Relations
Downtown Pittsburgh