Have you heard about the giant plastics plant (“cracker” plant) they’re building in Beaver County, not far away from us? The ethane Falcon pipelines that are proposed to be built? This article is a great summary of the competiting interests for the future of Pittsburgh and our whole region.

I’ve recently attended the Pennsylviana Department of Environmental Protection hearing and other events where I heard the stories of people that were hurt by the fracking and fossil fuel industry. It hurts our health, our childrens’ health, poisons our environment, and contributes to climate change. And for what? By their own admission, most of the “jobs” created by these plants and pipelines are temporary – and Shell can’t even guarantee they’ll be local workers! – and those jobs put workers at health and safety risk.

The whole world is moving away from fossil fuels and nuclear to cleaner sustainable energy sources. Solar and wind turbines are the future and will create many more local jobs than the fossil fuel industry. Bioplastics can be made without petroleaum and investment will make the process even better. If we invest in fossil fuels now when it is on its way out, we will hurt our health and environment only for it to do what the steel industry did – pick up and leave us stuck. There is no winning with fossil fuels.

It is time we invest in renewable energy and green industry instead. Let’s be a national and world leader in renewable energy and tech. As representative, I will support policies to make this happen, including tuition-free public college and trade schools to ensure everyone affected by the transition to renewable energy can find a good job in the green economy.

We don’t have to sacrifice our health and environment for jobs.