Climate activist groups circulated newspaper opinion page letters this week against House Bill 1100 – legislation which would support critical manufacturing investment and good-paying, union jobs in Pennsylvania.
At a time when Pennsylvania unemployment is skyrocketing and our communities and families face enormous challenges tied to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s irresponsible to prevent the creation of good-paying Pennsylvania manufacturing jobs.
It should come as no surprise that those opposed to energy and manufacturing job creation are backed by deep-pocketed, well-organized foundations that have fought for years to eliminate energy jobs. Recent letters in the Post-Gazette and elsewhere have come from PennEnvironment and GreenCorps, which are funded by the anti-natural gas Heinz Endowments and the Park Foundation.
A good example of these inherent biases comes straight from the Park Foundation’s mission statement:
“The Foundation supports statewide efforts in New York that decrease reliance on fossil fuels, particularly natural gas, by challenging the expansion of its infrastructure, including pipelines, compressor stations and new natural gas power plants.”
What’s more, these fringe activist groups advance views that are out-of-step with an overwhelming majority of Pennsylvanians. Here’s what some are saying:
- Warren F. Faust, President, Northeast Pa. Building & Construction Trades Council: “House Bill 1100 spurs the exact growth our country is in desperate need of at this very critical moment in our history.” (3/27/20)
- The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia: “The Commonwealth’s access to abundant, affordable natural gas represents a significant and strategic opportunity. This natural resource has the ability to create jobs, strengthen our competitiveness, and foster a robust quality of life across the state. House Bill 1100 supports this opportunity by incentivizing manufacturing jobs to locate in Pennsylvania.” (2/24/20)
- Pa. State Sen. John Yudichak (I): “The veto of House Bill 1100 places Gov. Wolf on the side of anti-job, radical environmentalists who have maliciously misrepresented the facts on this pro-worker, pro-jobs piece of legislation and places the governor’s policies squarely in opposition to legislation that has the potential to attract thousands of prevailing wage jobs and billions of dollars in private investment to Pennsylvania when we need jobs more than ever.” (3/27/20)
- David M. Taylor, President & CEO, Pa. Manufacturers’ Association: “This manufacturing industry — and the value it brings — could be the foundation of an entirely new economy, one that would provide family-sustaining jobs for generations to come. Governor Wolf’s veto of House Bill 1100 forfeits that future.” (3/27/20)
- Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.):“In western Pennsylvania, people feel betrayed when they hear that there are any Democrats who support the elimination of jobs in our communities — good, middle-class, union jobs — and whose policies could easily lead to an increase in carbon emissions. Where I come from, jobs come first, thanks in part to a long history of union organizing that formed the traditional backbone of our party.” (2/14/20)
- Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.): “The false choice is that you have to choose fracking over good climate policy,” Casey said. He also stated that natural gas is a clean fossil fuel that must be regulated but not banned because it has made the United States “less dependent and which creates, as we know, lots of jobs in Pennsylvania.” (11/14/19)
Especially during these challenging times, Pennsylvanians are looking to elected officials for leadership. Policies that leverage abundant natural gas resources to drive manufacturing job-creation – steady careers that are the backbone of a thriving middle class – are the critical engine to driving our recovery.
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