By Ginny Kerslake, Special To The Times
Gov. Tom Wolf’s Restore PA is back! It’s an infrastructure plan that would provide funding for critical projects such as stormwater mitigation, high speed internet access for communities without it, superfund cleanup and combating blight. It is paid for with a severance tax placed on drillers for the amount of gas they extract. What’s not to like? Well, a few things.
Restore PA calls for $4.5 billion in spending over a four year period. The plan is to take out a loan and pay it back over 20 years with taxes paid by the frackers. This means that Pennsylvania will be financially tied to fracking through 2040, well past the date scientists have set for us to get off fossil fuels. My fear is if we start this, we will never be able to stop.
To make matters worse, a portion of the funds would be diverted back into the fossil fuel industry to subsidize pipelines infrastructure and petrochemical plastics, including cracker plants designed to produce more plastic.
Furthermore, decisions on project funding would require the approval of at least six members of an appointed seven member board. This opens the door to the influence of corporate lobbyists and political donors.
Wedding Pennsylvania to the dangers of fracking and the hazards of the petrochemical industry for 20 years isn’t good for our environment or our communities, and it isn’t safe for workers either. This isn’t what a sustainable future for our people or our planet looks like.
As money from the fossil fuel industry continues to flow into our elections, it is more important than ever that we have leadership in Harrisburg that is clear eyed on what proposals like Restore PA mean for our state. I am honored to be the candidate endorsed by Food and Water Action for State Representative District 167 who exemplifies such leadership.
I stand with the Chester County’s State Representative Danielle Friel Otten and State Senators Andy Dinniman and Katie Muth in rejecting Restore Pa as an ethical or sustainable solution to our state’s infrastructure issues. My Primary opponent, State Rep. Kristine Howard supports Restore PA.
We must divest from fossil fuels and petrochemical plastics, and rebuild Pennsylvania with a green economy that works for everyone.
Ginny Kerslake is a Democratic candidate for State Representative in the 167th District.