News

March 4, 2020

Rally in Capitol March 9 for Stewardship of Creation

“The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it,
    the world, and those who live in it,

for he has founded it on the seas,
    and established it on the rivers.” Psalm 24: 1

On March 9, join LAMPa and creation care advocates from around the state for a press conference and rally to urge Governor Wolf to veto House Bill 1100, a bill that provides potential billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies to entice more petrochemical plants and gas infrastructure to Pennsylvania for the next 30 years – a time when we need to be dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions for the sake of our common home.

Buses are available to encourage people to share the ride from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. (See information below.)

Stand with us on Monday at 10 a.m. in the State Capitol Main Rotunda and look for upcoming action alerts to send a message to your lawmakers. Let us know if you can join us so that we can look for you!

 

Read coverage of potential for veto override underscoring need to act.

 

“We need to support sustainable economic development that builds the future we want for our children and grandchildren,” said LAMPa director Tracey DePasquale. Pennsylvania is already the nation’s fourth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Subsidies to build these industries would anchor us more firmly to fossil fuels.

“As Christians, we believe we are called to be stewards of all of God’s beloved creation. We, as Pennsylvanians, have an important and powerful role to play in stopping the pollution of the air, land and water. Already, the harm from our choices is falling heaviest on the most vulnerable of our siblings in our state and around the world. From drought and famine to flood and fire, our congregrations through Lutheran Disaster Response show up to heal and repair. We are called and empowered to move beyond these important acts of charity and accompaniment to stop making choices that contribute to humanmade disasters.

Read the ELCA Social Statement Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope and Justice.

Click here to find resources for addressing climate change through education, individual and congregational practices, and faithful advocacy.

“Taking away choices of taxpayers for decades to come to invest this money in healthier tomorrows does not match our vision of a just world. Pennsylvania should be transitioning away from fossil fuels, not funding their expansion.”

 

HB 1100 provides a subsidy for petrochemical-related projects in Pennsylvania that is expected to average $22 million per facility per year through 2050. The tax credit applies to manufacturers that do the following:

  • Builds a facility in Pennsylvania through an investment of at least $450 million;
  • Hires at least 800 full-time equivalent jobs during the construction phase of the project
  • Purchases and uses Pennsylvania-sourced natural gas to manufacture petrochemicals or fertilizers.

Increased petrochemical development will lead to negative environmental, public health, and budgetary consequences. They include:

  • Plastic production: Single-use plastics have become a major threat to our health and our environment, clogging our waterways, killing wildlife and finding is way into our food chain. This bill will exacerbate the problem instead of moving towards alternatives.  Watch a video on Pennsylvania’s contribution to global plastics pollution.
  • Climate change: The petrochemical industry is the single largest energy consumer in the world. Therefore, subsidizing more petrochemical production would make it much harder for Pennsylvania to achieve its greenhouse gas emission reduction goals of 26 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050 from 2005 levels.  Building this infrastructure further anchors us in a fossil-fuel consumption economy that is harming our neighbors near and far now.  Click for faith-based resources for addressing climate change.
  • Public health: Cracker plants release PM 2.5 – small particulate matter – that can trigger asthma attacks or cardiovascular distress. Long-time exposure increases the risk of both developing and dying of cardiovascular disease. Short term, high level exposure from, for example, an intense event or pollution spike can trigger strokes, abnormal heart rhythms and heart attacks. It also increases the risk of cancer, and there is growing evidence that air pollution affects fetal development and adverse birth outcomes.
  • Subsidy to polluters: This bill would be a handout to the unconventional gas industry — which includes some of the world’s largest companies such as Shell Oil and ExxonMobil — who are contaminating our air, water and land through hydraulic fracturing. They funds could be used to invest in our people with education and technology, such as broadband access, to build a future with a thriving, sustainable economy.

HB1100 establishes the same tax credit provided to Royal Dutch Shell, which is building a massive ethane-to-plastics cracker facility in Beaver County. Despite the fact that he company is one of the largest and wealthiest corporations on the planet, Pennsylvania lawmakers in 2012 gave the company a tax break equivalent to $1.6 billion over 25 years.

 

Shell has anticipated that 600 full-time jobs will be created when the plant becomes operational, which means each job at the facility along the Ohio River carries with it a subsidy price tag of about $2.7 million. Learn more about the impact of that plant.

 

Surrounding states are investing in renewable energy and green jobs. New York state is making more than $5 billion in clean energy investments – now responsible for 146,000 clean energy jobs. New York’s economy is thriving without relying on the petrochemical industry. States that do so will reap the benefits of a new economy while Pennsylvania taxpayers are being asked to subsidize an industry whose legacy is emerging around toxic water, polluted air, low birth weights and increasing frequency of manmade “natural” disasters.

 

 

Pennsylvania in 2018 added jobs in the clean energy sector five times faster than the overall state employment growth rate.

 

Since 2014, Pennsylvania has increased its workforce in clean technologies like renewables, energy efficiency, clean vehicles, storage, and grid modernization by nearly 60 percent – employing now twice as many workers as the state’s entire fossil fuel industry.

 

There are 90,772 clean energy jobs across Pennsylvania. One in three jobs in the state’s energy sector are in clean energy.

 

The list of speakers for the rally is subject to change. Current confirmed speakers include:

  • Jacquelyn Bonomo, President and C.E.O., PennFuture
  • State Representative Sara Innamorato, (21st House District)
  • State Representative Chris Rabb, (200th House District)
  • State Representative Carolyn Comitta, (156th House District)
  • State Senator Katie Muth, (44th Senatorial District)
  • Veronica Coptis, Executive Director, The Center for Coalfield Justice
  • Ashleigh Deemer, Deputy Director, PennEnvironment
  • Rabbi Daniel Swartz, Temple Hesed
  • Briann Moye, One Pennsylvania

 

Bus from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg:

Please sign up for the bus by filling out this Google Form. Please contact PennFuture Western Pennsylvania Outreach Coordinator, Kelsey Krepps, at krepps@pennfuture.org or (412) 224 – 4477 with any questions or concerns.

 

Bus from Philadelphia:

Please sign up for the bus by filling out this Google Form.  Please contact PennFuture Clean Water Advocacy Campaign Manager, Lena Smith, at smith@pennfuture.org or (267) 838- 9154 with any questions or concerns.

The plant, which received a $1.65 billion tax credit from Pennsylvania, is under construction, employing around 6,000 people. When it’s built in the next few years, it’s expected to employ 600.

 

 

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