Interfaith trek from oil-fired to solar electricity

CHESTER- A group of interfaith activists walked from Eddystone Generating Station to the Chester Exploration Zone today to say PECO should run its grid on local solar built in cities where unemployment is high. Burning oil or gas for electricity is safest far away from where the power gets used. But solar technology can put the power directly in the community that needs it, bringing jobs, savings, and cleaner air.

The Walk for Green Jobs and Justice began yesterday and is going 100 miles around the region. On the industrial highway outside the Eddystone Plant, they condemned air pollution and climate change, before heading into the city of Chester to talk about a different future in front of MJ Freed Theater. With cooperation from PECO, the Chester Exploration Zone could run on solar, and bring in jobs in an industry that is booming nationally.

The interfaith walk began yesterday at a church in North Philadelphia that will soon be powered by free solar, and also visited Centennial Parkside district, a neighborhood building solar farms to generate revenue for community projects. Tomorrow, they meet up with Transition Town Media, a group advocating for solar and local economic revival.

Solar produces more jobs per dollar than any other electricity source. Nationally, the industry already employs more Americans than coal and natural gas combined, but not in PA. The state ranks a dismal 43rd in solar jobs per capita.

After over a year of pressure, PECO is starting to pay attention. The utility has floated concepts such as soliciting customer donations for solar projects. However, PECO has resisted committing to solar growth and remains a major driver of air pollution and climate change.

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Power Local Green Jobs is a faith-based economic justice campaign led by Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) and Philadelphians Organized to Witness Empower and Rebuild (POWER). Begun in 2015, the campaign uses nonviolent direct action to pressure PECO, the largest utility in PA, to spur job growth through solar expansion in areas with high unemployment. Learn more at www.eqat.org and www.powerinterfaith.org.