Harrisburg, PA--On Tuesday, hundreds of Pennsylvanians gathered under murals depicting Pennsylvania’s industrial history in the Capitol to rally for a new vision for the Commonwealth powered by 100% renewable energy. The attendees were joined by businesses, religious leaders, local mayors, and nurses and doctors to advocate for bipartisan legislation awaiting action in the General Assembly that would meet this goal by 2050 (HB2132, SB 1140). The legislation has bipartisan support from 13 state Senators and 42 state Representatives.
“It's time to make Pennsylvania run on solar shining on rooftops and wind blowing in hills,” said Adam Garber, Deputy Director for PennEnvironment. “And today, with hundreds gathered in Harrisburg advocating for bipartisan bill to do just that, it's clear the future is bright."
“The transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy would boost the creation of future jobs by harnessing a newly skilled workforce, and giving our universities the opportunity to advance new fields of technology as they educate a new generation of Pennsylvania’s technology-based workforce,” State Representative Chris Rabb (D-Philadelphia) said. “The need is clear and the vast majority of scientists agree: Climate change is real. We must seize the opportunity to become a leader in this industry – for our children, our communities and our commonwealth.”
Citizens roamed the halls of the Capitol wearing t-shirts calling for 100% renewable energy, with residents from nearly half of Pennsylvania’s counties in attendance. After holding a massive rally in the capitol rotunda, attendees went to their respective elected officials in the state House and Senate to meet face-to-face with their elected officials and call for much-needed action to promote clean energy and tackle climate change. All told, constituents held more than 80 legislative offices to discuss how this transition could tackle climate change, save consumers money, and create clean energy jobs.
“As a woman of faith, I believe we can transform the lives of families in our communities one day at a time. My aspiration is to make Duquesne a better place to live,” said Mayor Nickole Nesby of Duquesne, PA. “I want residents to have a quality education, promote home ownership with reasonable mortgage payments, economic development, better transportation, ensure medical providers are provided, update parks, and provide better recreation and playgrounds.”
While attendees hustled from meeting to meeting, making the case for clean energy, businesses showcased the growing clean energy revolution in Pennsylvania at a Clean Energy Expo with educational tables throughout the capitol building. This Expo included Pennsylvania companies like Pittsburgh-based EverPower, which highlighted wind farms and Philadelphia-based Solar States which focused on their solar installations on local businesses and homes. Energy conservation and efficiency companies also featured tips showing how Pennsylvanians could reduce their energy consumption, in turn reducing pollution and saving money on their utility bills.
PennEnvironment also displayed a video testimony entitled Voices for 100, which highlighted diverse voices in support for renewable energy, including testimonials from hundreds of experts and citizens from across the Commonwealth discussing why they support shifting away from fossil fuels.
“Renewable energy makes us safer and healthier, protecting our communities from global warming and from hazardous air pollution,” said Anthony Clarke, Co-Chair of the Climate Justice and Jobs team for POWER. “While the health impacts of climate change affect us all, they disproportionately affect the vulnerable and disadvantaged communities.”
“Pennsylvania has a long history and leadership of creating energy by mining our natural resources of oil, coal, and gas. With that history has come negative health consequences of black lung disease, cancers, asthma, and poor birth outcomes,” said Ruth McDermott-Levy, Associate Professor & Director, Center for Global & Public Health at Villanova University. “It is time for Pennsylvania to be a leader in energy again by harvesting our renewable resources of air and wind and in turn, protecting the health of Pennsylvanians and those beyond our state borders.”
“Jesus commanded his followers to love God and to love our neighbor, especially the most vulnerable, and climate change hurts vulnerable people here in Pennsylvania and around the world right now,” said Pastor Inge Williams from the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in PA (LAMPa) Policy Council.
After a day of actions, meetings, and a rally, constituents left Harrisburg ready to keep working with their state elected officials to push forward a 100% renewable energy future for Pennsylvania.
PennEnvironment is a statewide, environmental advocacy organization with 140,000 supporters advocating for clean air, clean water and open spaces.
Sponsors of 100% Renewable Energy Advocacy Day: 350 Pittsburgh, Breathe Project / Collaborative, Bucks County Audubon Society, Bucks County Green Party, Bucks County Sierra Club, Bucks Environmental Action, Citizens Climate Lobby Bucks-Mont, Citizens' Climate Lobby Chester County, Clean Air Council, Clean Water Action, Climate Reality Project: Susquehanna Valley PA Chapter, Defend Our Future, League of Women Voters PA, Moms Clean Air Force, Oakland Planning & Development Corp., PA Council of Churches, PA Interfaith Power and Light, PennEnvironment, Sierra Club, Sunlight of the Spirit House, Sunrise Movement, Susquehanna Valley Progress, Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, The Social Justice Group, MontCo / Philly, Vote Solar