Quakers stage inspection to push PECO on local green jobs
PHILADELPHIA- On March 2nd at noon, 34 members of Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) inspected PECO’s Market Street headquarters, where the utility will soon choose where to purchase new solar energy. With measuring tape, clipboards and yardsticks, activists scrutinized the iconic Philadelphia building to highlight where this important decision will be made. Since last September, EQAT has been pressuring PECO to choose to invest in local green jobs, first by purchasing solar power from rooftops in North Philadelphia.
“PECO has until May 2nd to commit to buying solar energy from high-unemployment neighborhoods in North Philadelphia, or else EQAT members will blow the whistle on PECO’s posturing as a community leader,” said EQAT Board Chair Eileen Flanagan. EQAT promises that if PECO refuses to buy solar energy locally, they will embark on escalating actions across the city.
EQAT members split into teams in order to inspect PECO's headquarters, studying the lobby and mapping the space. Security refused to allow a group upstairs to inspect the office of CEO Craig Adams, who must approve PECO’s energy procurement plan.
“PECO could pave the way to a more sustainable future, one safe from the storms and flooding looming due to climate change. And at the same time it could immediately bring good-paying jobs the city desperately needs,” said Patrick Ammerman, a volunteer with EQAT. “We are here looking for evidence to show us what kind of community leader PECO is.”
In 2016 solar must increase by a small step of 0.1% of PECO’s total energy. If PECO purchases this energy from North Philadelphia, research has shown that would create at least 72 jobs.
“These jobs are desperately needed in North Philadelphia, an area that’s seen chronic disinvestment for decades,” said Flanagan. “If PECO were to make a major shift to rooftop solar, it would produce thousands of jobs for our region and be much better for our communities and our climate.”
Earth Quaker Action Team includes Quakers and people of diverse beliefs using nonviolent direct action to build a just and sustainable economy. EQAT (pronounced “equate”) won its first campaign in 2015, forcing PNC Bank to halt millions of dollars of financing to companies engaged in mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia. Following that success, EQAT’s new campaign is pressuring local utility PECO to Power Local Green Jobs through solar expansion, particularly in North Philadelphia.