The day after his defeat of State Sen. Douglas V. Mastriano of R-Franklin County, Pennsylvania’s new Democratic Governor-elect Josh Shapiro is reminded of an ongoing debate over energy policy, in general, and the fossil fuels, in particular.
The Center for Coalfield Justice, a nonprofit primarily located in Washington and Greene counties that focuses on the effects of coal mining on communities and the environment, is asking Shapiro to hold the industry responsible oil and gas industry and to prioritize the well-being of workers and families over shareholder profits.
The CCJ said Shapiro “must continue to hold polluters accountable through strong enforcement and permits that protect our most vulnerable frontline communities, while investing in a clean energy future and supporting policies that elevate our social workers.” “.
Rachel Gleason of the Pennsylvania Coal Alliance pointed out that “Globally there is an energy crisis caused by poor policy decisions, shifts to unreliable energy sources and reliance on electricity. ‘other countries”.
At a time when energy prices are at an all-time high, Gleason said, “Now more than ever, we need to focus on energy security, drive manufacturing in the United States, and embrace unfettered access to coal-fired Pennsylvania and its reliable and resilient attributes”.
Shapiro said in Indiana during his campaign that there had to be a balance. He said he wanted to “bring all parties together” to discuss energy and environmental issues.
The CCJ called for an end to “corporate subsidies to the fossil fuel industry” and support for “environmental justice communities”.
As designated by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, this would locally include the boroughs of Indiana, Plumville, Smicksburg, Marion Center, and Glen Campbell, as well as the townships of North Mahoning, South Mahoning, East Mahoning, West Mahoning, Banks and Canoe. .
It would also include a buffer zone around Indiana, which includes parts of White Township; an area in the eastern wards of Derry Township, Westmoreland County, extending into Burrell Township, Indiana County, roughly to the borough line of Blairsville, as well as the Troy area Hill east of Kittanning, Ford City, and Leechburg in Armstrong County, and other half-mile buffers, such as the one entering Armstrong County from a census tract Environmental Justice in Vandergrift, Westmoreland County.
A DEP spokesperson said last March that Pennsylvania’s participation in the regional greenhouse gas initiative, currently stalled in state appeals courts, would provide an opportunity to support communities affected by energy transition by providing crucial resources, such as “making targeted investments in environmental justice communities.
In Indiana, Shapiro said that “it is a false choice to say that we have to choose between the dignity of labor and environmental justice”, that “we can protect the jobs of today and create the jobs of the green energy of tomorrow”.
He said he wanted to bring “all interests around the table, from the energy sector to trade unions to environmental advocates, and to sit down and come up with a new dynamic that will protect the interests of each”.
In its statement Wednesday, the CCJ said “we look forward to working with the new governor to advocate for real economic solutions that protect our health, provide well-paying jobs, and create a better Pennsylvania for our families, children, and the future generations”.
Gleason said Pennsylvania’s coal industry “and the families and communities that rely on its continued success, also look forward to working with Governor-elect Shapiro. We are optimistic. Shapiro envisions a sensible approach to efficiency energy and environmental impact that will not harm workers and households that are already suffering from historic inflation.