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Walking to Promote a Faster Pace for Solar Jobs

The Walk for Green Jobs and Justice began in North Philadelphia on May 8, and wraps up on May 22 in Philadelphia. (EQAT)
The Walk for Green Jobs and Justice began in North Philadelphia on May 8, and wraps up on May 22 in Philadelphia. (EQAT)
May 12, 2017

PHILADELPHIA – A group of Philadelphia-area activists is reaching the halfway point in a 100-mile walk for more local energy jobs and solar power.

With flags and banners flying, the interfaith "Walk for Green Jobs and Justice" arrives in Berwyn Friday. Organizers claim the largest electric and gas utility in the state isn't doing enough to develop clean, green-energy jobs through local solar power.

Gregory Holt, the communications manager for the Earth Quaker Action Team, says the walkers are seeking out existing projects as they go, to make the point that PECO needs to pick up the pace.

"We're connecting to trailblazers throughout the whole five-county service territory - folks who are financing affordable housing, generating revenue through solar - and saying that we need to see a lot more of that," he explains.

PECO says it supports more than 3,000 customers who have added solar and other power-generating sources to their homes and businesses.

But Holt says PECO has a long history of lobbying against solar and opposing efforts to expand renewable energy - opposition he believes has had a detrimental impact on the communities it serves.

"Solar jobs are booming nationally, but not in Pennsylvania," he says. "And we have so many communities in our area that really need to see that job growth."

The marchers want PECO to be getting 20 percent of its power from solar by 2025, prioritizing areas with high unemployment.

The 100-mile march is scheduled to end in Philadelphia on May 22, where Holt says they will meet up with national environmental leaders, including Bill McKibben and Bishop Dwayne Royster.

"And then, we'll walk the final mile up to the PECO headquarters on 23rd and Market, to demand swift action for energy justice," he adds.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - PA