Dep. Secretary Welcomes Speaker Pelosi to PA; Highlights Economic Growth in Renewable Energy Industries

Says Reducing Dependence on Foreign Oil Key to Homeland Security, Economic Growth

FALLS TOWNSHIP, Pa., Oct. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty today joined Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey and U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy in welcoming U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to one of the commonwealth's new hotbeds for renewable energy growth.

The secretary showcased how Governor Edward G. Rendell is establishing Pennsylvania as a national leader in the drive for energy independence and stronger homeland security, while creating new economic opportunities for its people.

"It is an honor and privilege for Pennsylvania to welcome Speaker Pelosi," said McGinty. "Governor Rendell's push for energy security and clean energy jobs in Pennsylvania is working and being heralded around the country. Many states across the country are working hard to develop alternative and renewable forms of energy, and Pennsylvania is leading the way.

"With the United States importing 60 percent of its oil supply form foreign nations, and Pennsylvania spending nearly $30 billion on gas and liquid fuels, Governor Rendell believes it is unacceptable that so much of our national security, economy and way of life is at the mercy of other countries.

"To free Pennsylvania of this dependence, we're investing in our future by working aggressively to develop and deploy alternative energy sources that we can find in our own back yards. Those investments are creating new opportunities for our people, and we can see evidence of that here," said McGinty, referring to the Keystone Industrial Port Complex, or KIPC, in Bucks County.

McGinty pointed to operations by wind turbine manufacturer Gamesa and AE Polysilicon, which manufactures materials for solar panels, as evidence of Pennsylvania's growing alternative and renewable energy industries.

"Since 2004, when we passed the innovative Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act, we've seen $1 billion in new economic growth flow into Pennsylvania," said McGinty. "Those private investments have helped produce more than 3,000 new jobs in rapidly growing industries like wind and solar power, biodiesel manufacturing, and hydro electricity production, as well as those areas that support these sectors.

"This is the kind of growth we can realize when we're willing to commit ourselves to alternative and renewable energy technologies and invest in our future," McGinty said. "Rather than continuing to send our precious dollars outside of Pennsylvania for energy -- often to nations that are politically unstable, or controlled by regimes hostile to America's interests -- we can put that money to work in our own state and build a stronger economy."

McGinty noted that Governor Rendell's Energy Independence Strategy, unveiled in February, will attract $3.5 billion in new investments to the state and create 13,000 new jobs. The plan also will expand Pennsylvania's energy production and technology sectors, save consumers $10 billion in energy costs over the next 10 years, and reduce the state's dependence on foreign fuels.

One component of the Governor's plan, the PennSecurity Fuels Initiative will require that the commonwealth produce and consume nearly 1 billion gallons of biofuels -- an amount equal to what Pennsylvania will import from the Middle East by 2017.

To help increase production capacities and improve the state's infrastructure, the Governor proposed an $850 million Energy Independence Fund as part of his strategy to complement some $30 million from the Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant Program.

The Governor has convened a special session of the General Assembly to focus on his Energy Independence Strategy this fall.

For more information on Governor Rendell's Energy Independence Strategy, visit http://www.depweb.state.pa.us, and click on the "Fueling Energy Savings" icon.

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection



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