We Must Take Bold Action to Tackle Climate Change

In 2018, the consensus of the worlds’ climate scientists made our predicament clear: We had 12 years to reverse our addiction to fossil fuels to avoid the most dangerous risks from global warming. Two years have passed. It is now 2020, and irresponsible politicians continue to pretend this crisis won’t harm us and our children. In the next ten years, we must take big, bold actions. My children can’t play in the woods behind my house without risking Lyme disease. With every passing year, my community has had flooding and it is growing more extreme and happening more often.The longer we put off addressing this crisis, the more dangerous and expensive the risks become. But the alternatives promise a brighter future with cleaner renewable energy, fantastic job growth opportunities and a safer healthier world for future generations. We must start now and work at every level of government. I will fight for you to make sure that Harrisburg does right by our children.

For too long, state funds have been wasted in gas and petrochemical get-rich-quick giveaways. When $1.5 billion in our state tax dollars was used to bring the Shell cracker plant to Beaver County, legislators ignored warnings to gain only 10 thousand short term jobs and 600 long term jobs. At the same time, New York State invested $1.5 billion and gained 40 thousand long term jobs in clean energy. Now our state legislature is attempting to fleece us again with HB1100 which wastes our tax dollars on more dirty tax giveaways to polluting industries.

I will fight against Harrisburg corruption and will be responsible and smart about protecting your tax dollars. It won’t be easy to get rid of these powerful interests in our state legislature, but I am going to fight every day for a cleaner and safer future with more good-quality and long-term jobs.

End subsidies and tax credit giveaways to petrochemical companies

We must stop propping up an over-leveraged fossil fuel industry that pollutes our air and water. We risk these industries leaving us to clean up their mess once they declare bankruptcy and run off with their golden parachutes. Without our tax dollars subsidizing their profits, we would see market forces rapidly incentivize a transition to clean energy with better, safer long-term jobs for Pennsylvanians; not out-of-state rig operators.

Natural gas is good when it replaces dirty coal pollution, creating only half as much greenhouse gasses. But we need to transition more quickly from dangerous and dirty polluting fossil fuels and towards clean energy and the jobs that go with them. We need clean energy that will last as long as the sun shines and the wind blows.The alternative energy solutions of solar, wind, biomass, and expanding hydropower will create a safer cleaner future for generations to come. These industries will mean better, long-term jobs that can’t be outsourced.

We need to put a spotlight on the politicians who benefit personally – or through their campaign coffers – from the industries benefiting from these subsidy and tax credit programs.

Fracking must be safe and responsible, polluters must be held accountable, and we need a just transition to clean energy

Out-of-state fracking companies have cut corners and demonstrated a disregard for our children and our environment. Fracking and explosive pipelines should never be near child care programs or schools, nor should they ruin the property value of neighboring homes. We need to ensure that there is local control over zoning of fracking sites and pipeline locations to give voice to the residents, businesses, and those most affected by these industries. We also need to increase the state-mandated set-backs

for well site locations. Current law only requires a few hundred feet which can be waived by property owners. Given the accidents we have seen, scientific consensus says that set-backs should be around ¼ mile from human-occupied buildings and 2 miles from places with vulnerable populations such as schools, hospitals, and child care facilities.

We need increased transparency around the chemicals used in fracking solutions and air quality at drilling sites. Emergency room doctors and nurses, EMT’s, and other first responders deserve to know what hazardous and explosive chemicals are being used when fracking emergencies occur. This should be public information that companies are required to share and environmental regulators are able to verify, with strict penalties for misrepresentation or falsification.

We need federal and state regulations around methane emissions as this greenhouse gas is a source of pollution from both well site locations and pipelines, and contributes to warming our planet.

Companies found to be polluting our air and water need to face significant monetary penalties that are enforced rapidly and consistently.

As jobs are phased out, we need a plan not just for retraining skilled workers but ensuring they have healthcare and their pensions are secure.

Above all, we need to stop framing this discussion as a choice between jobs OR our environment. We can have BOTH.

Pittsburgh & Western Pennsylvania’s history of strong unionized workforces and the growth of the technology and robotics industries uniquely position the region to take advantage of clean energy jobs that are good for people & the planet.

Increase state investments in infrastructure challenges plaguing our communities in stormwater and sewer systems.

We need state investments in green infrastructure to provide resources for projects that solve regional flooding issues

State officials can convene local and regional leaders to hold discussions and develop watershed plans for upstream development

Elected leaders must ensure that our water systems and local water and sewer authorities remain public assets under accountable public management. We have seen time and time again that for-profit privatization of public services leads to unsafe and dangerous cost-cutting that endangers us all.

We need tougher regulations of water contaminants such as lead and other pollutants

One giant boondoggle waste of taxpayer money on a cracker plant is enough. We know there are better smarter investments of tax dollars which will create many times more long-term jobs.

We must stop using public dollars to subsidize projects that prop up the fossil fuel industry in stranded-asset traps.

We should incentivize phasing out unnecessary and single-use plastic products and incentivize biodegradable and compostable alternatives that will return to the earth.

Key points

  • End subsidies and tax credit giveaways to petrochemical companies
  • Fracking must be safe and responsible, polluters must be held accountable, and we need a just transition to clean energy
  • Stop framing this discussion as a choice between jobs OR our environment. We can have BOTH.

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