PECO/Exelon: Time to invest in local solar jobs!
COATESVILLE, PA – Coatesville was once a local industry leader, but the steel industry only employs a fraction of the employees that it once did. Communities like Coatesville could use a boost from a new and growing industry: local solar.
“Working class communities like Coatesville are being whipsawed by economic forces that send manufacturing jobs elsewhere. We need something that sends the jobs of the future our way. Coatesville needs to be part of the coming transition to a renewables-based energy economy.”says Marc Brier, a volunteer with Earth Quaker Action Team and emcee for Tuesday’s rally.
More industry threatens to leave Coatesville, but there is a future in green jobs. While solar is growing rapidly among homeowners who can afford to install it, there are fewer opportunities for solar for low income residents. PECO can change that.
“We can’t cling to the past where our energy comes from oil, coal or natural gas, leaving our underserved communities to cope with pollution, chronic illness and poverty. And our electric utilities can’t cling to business as usual. It’s time for change.” Says Nancy Sleator, a volunteer with EQAT and Delaware County resident.
“This is about jobs and equity,” says Terri Burgin, the Climate Justice Fellow at POWER. “We’re talking about clean energy owned and built by the communities bearing the brunt of pollution and high unemployment. PECO has the resources and needs to come to the table to make that happen. My heart breaks when I see a new industry emerging and once again redline and leave Black and Brown communities out of it. The opportunity is here for thousands of jobs, for improving health and equality. This is the time for PECO, and its parent company Exelon, to commit to better communities for all of us.”
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.powerinterfaith.org and www.eqat.org.