Jossi Fritz-Mauer wants to see Pennsylvania cut its dependence on oil and increase its investment in energy-saving technologies.
They’re goals that Fritz-Mauer hopes are on the minds of candidates running for state office. More than 140 candidates have already expressed their support of the goals, including six from Luzerne County.
Fritz-Mauer is a field associate with PennEnvironment, a Philadelphia-based environmental advocacy group that released a list of candidates it says has expressed support for four state-level goals outlined in the group’s New Energy Future platform.
Three Democratic incumbents – state Reps. Phyllis Mundy, Jim Wansacz and John Yudichak – have pledged their support.
Three candidates – Mike Carroll, Maureen Tatu and Robert McNamara – have also signed on in support of the platform. Carroll, a Democrat, is vying against Republican Tatu for the 118th District seat. McNamara, a Democrat, is running for state Senate in the 20th District.
PennEnvironment sent surveys to every state candidate in September. More than 140 candidates have endorsed the platform, Fritz-Mauer said. He expects to receive more responses before Tuesday’s election. As more responses are received, the list will be updated.
“It’s telling that so many leaders have already recognized that the time for change is now, but we are calling for the remaining candidates to commit to seriously addressing our current energy crisis by signing on to this platform,” he said. “Whatever happens on Nov. 7, we’re hoping for a majority of successful candidates who support the energy policies. Then we hope to hit the ground running with some legislation to make these goals a reality.”
McNamara said he agrees with all the goals because they would help the state’s economy and environment.
“Whatever we can do to move toward new energy sources will help our environment and also add jobs and boost the economy,” he said.
Yudichak said the Legislature has made great strides to improve energy issues, such as passing legislation that requires 18 percent of all energy generated in the state to come from clean sources by 2020.
He supports PennEnvironment’s platform because of the environmental and economic benefits.
“This really could be the next frontier in the new economy of energy technology. We need to invest in that and we’re doing it with wind power, ethanol and coal gasification,” Yudichak said.
Mundy said the Legislature and Gov. Ed Rendell, who also supports the platform, have done a lot to address energy issues. Still, Mundy said more can be done to lessen the country’s dependency on foreign oil.
“I’m a strong advocate for clean, renewable homegrown energy, and I hope we can rely on it more in the future,” Mundy said.
Wansacz said he agrees with the platform because the best way we can lessen our dependence on foreign oil is to focus on alternative energy sources. By doing so, he said, it will create new jobs and help the environment.
“We’ve seen great strides made in the last 10 years, and we’ll see greater strides made over the next 20 years,” Wansacz said. “We know the technology is out there to accomplish these goals.”
Carroll and Tatu could not be reached for comment.
Fritz-Mauer said increased investment in energy technology is a critical goal because it would make the rest of the goals achievable.
To view the list of candidates who support the New Energy Future platform, visit www.pennenvironment.org/NEF.html. The list is updated as more responses are sent in.
• reduce the state’s dependence on oil by cutting Pennsylvania’s consumption by one-third by 2025;
• harness clean, renewable, homegrown energy sources such as wind, solar and farm-based bio-fuels for at least a quarter of all energy needs by 2025;
• save energy with high-performance homes, buildings and appliances so that by 2025 Pennsylvanians use 10 percent less energy than today;
• invest in a New Energy Future by quadrupling research and development funding for the energy-saving and renewable technologies we need to achieve these goals.