Jeff believes that corporations should be responsible for the pollution they create. When our government lets polluters off the hook, we all end up paying -- either in increased government spending or decreased quality of life and health. Like many other issues our government is failing to address, pollution also disproportionately affects the poor and communities of color. Jeff agrees 100% with what POWER -- an interfaith organization of ministers and activists -- wrote:
Climate change, unchecked, will: Lead to rising seas, rivers and water that could subsume 21% of Philadelphia's land mass; Hasten land displacement and spread water contamination threatening healthy drinking water; Cause more intense weather and droughts that will impact food supply and increase pricies making it harder for people to access and afford good food; Increase the days of oppressive heat and air toxins and increase health vulnerabilities such as asthma and hypertension; Escalate demand for energy and drive up costs of energy needed to heat and cool homes -- a challenge that will uniquely impact low-income residents; Threaten economic stability due to increased sick days from pluution, migration caused by climate pressure, and food insecurity due to extreme weather events.
If elected, Jeff will:
- Fight for a severance tax on natural gas. Pennsylvania is the only major energy producing state without a severance tax. Severance taxes are levied on energy producers as soon as the gas is extracted and are passed mostly to out of state consumers. According to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, a severance tax could generate over a billion dollars in the next two years. Failure to pass a severance tax means Pennsylvanians are paying more for out of state residents to pay less.
Refuse all contributions from energy companies and their lobbyists and PACs. Since 2010, the natural gas industry has spent $46.6 million on lobbying and $14.5 million on donations to our elected representatives. The gas industry may have already bought their representatives in Harrisburg, but Jeff will not be one of them.
- Work to create new green jobs. According to research by POWER, "Philadelphia's rooftops alone have the potential to generate .. enough [energy] to power over 30% of the region's total energy consumption needs." In addition to fighting pollution, programs like this would create over 15,000 new jobs that could "lift at least 1 in 5 families out of poverty."
- Fight for resources to address the lingering effects of lead pollution in Philadelphia. Experts agree that there is no safe level of lead for infants and children and that exposure can cause a permanent loss in IQ and learning and other behavioral problems. At a time when federal funds for fighting this problem are being slashed, Jeff will fight for increased state funding.
- Push for Pennsylvania to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Unlike New York, Maryland, Delaware and six other northeast states, Pennsylvania has failed to join this program which seeks to reduce climate changing emissions. Not only has this program led to reduced emissions, it's also reduced "average utility bills by 3.4% across the region" and created over "30,200 new jobs over the past eight years."