Schwartz proposes hiking Pa. clean energy goal

Pennsylvania should be required to obtain 30 percent of its electricity from renewable sources of energy such as solar or wind by 2030, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Allyson Schwartz proposed Thursday.

That would be four times the state’s current standard for clean energy, the Schwartz campaign said. The proposal was the centerpiece of an environmental strategy the campaign unveiled.

Republicans said that Schwartz's approach would damage the state's energy industry and cost jobs.

“Investing in clean and renewable energy sources will create new wealth and job opportunities for Pennsylvanians, and responsible stewardship will ensure that Pennsylvania’s environment is preserved for generations to come,” Schwartz, a U.S. representative from Montgomery County, said in a statement. “Leading the way on clean energy doesn’t just make economic sense – it is our moral obligation,” she said.

Schwartz also is proposing the creation of a land-conservation fund named after Gifford Pinchot, who was governor of Pennsylvania twice, for one term in the mid-20s and another in the early ‘30s, and is considered a pioneer of the conversation movement.

That program would be financed from her proposed 5-percent severance tax on natural gas production in the state. (Schwartz also has said the tax would fund expansions to education, including full-day kindergarten, and infrastructure investments.)

Schwartz also proposed that Pennsylvania join a regional consortium of nine states in a voluntary program to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

“Make no mistake about it: Allyson Schwartz’s liberal alternative energy plan is a thinly veiled attack in the War on Coal," said Megan Sweeney, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania GOP.

Here is the campaign’s link to the environmental policy.