PECO Faces Growing Demand for Local Green Jobs
September 16, PHILADELPHIA – Today PECO faced a dilemma with over 70 students, teachers, faith leaders, and community activists outside their headquarters on Market Street. Craig Adams, PECO CEO, was invited to join the crowd and commit to supporting green jobs in Philadelphia.
PECO is required to buy an additional 0.1% of its energy from solar by May 2016. "We know PECO has choices about where it sources energy. It could buy out of state, but it makes sense to buy solar energy here in Philly, especially when we have an unemployment crisis, and green jobs put local people to work", said Lee McClenon, member of Earth Quaker Action Team, the group who coordinated the gathering. PECO could choose to create an request for proposals (RFP) that prioritizes solar contractors who train and employ local people from high unemployment areas, starting with North Philadelphia.
Despite decreasing unemployment rates nationally, North Philadelphia still has one of the highest unemployment rates. North Philadelphia Soular Project works to revitalize that neighborhood by promoting green jobs. “I am tired of North Philadelphia being an item on everyone else’s menu. North Philadelphia should have a seat at the table,” said John Bowie, a native of 12th and Lehigh who is a leader of the group.
During today’s demonstration, activists gradually assembled a colorful puzzle depicting solar panels on the roofs of churches and schools across a vibrant North Philadelphia. Three people carried the last puzzle piece into the utility’s headquarters and asked if Adams would come down and place it. They were told by an employee that PECO had received the message and was open to dialog but was not prepared to put their piece in the puzzle.
With today’s crowd including a wide range of people, it is clear that the public is paying attention to what PECO will choose in 2016. “The transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy is necessary for a healthy climate and is an important creator of much-needed jobs in our neighborhoods,” said John W. Braxton, labor leader and biology professor at Community College of Philadelphia.
Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) is a nonviolent direct action group dedicated to building a just and sustainable economy. After winning a successful campaign to have PNC stop financing mountaintop removal in Appalachia, EQAT has launched a new campaign pressuring PECO to Power Local Green Jobs. More information is available at: www.eqat.org.