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Rural renewable energy pilot program

KARIN SUTHERLAND

Mill Hall

You may have missed the article on this program in last Friday’s The (Lock Haven) Express.

The program in question offers so much promise to us here in rural Pennsylvania that its details need to be broadcast far and wide.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is creating what they’re calling a Rural Renewable Energy Pilot Program that will provide financial assistance to rural communities to further develop renewable energy.

According to the press release, “When we invest in creating new sources of renewable energy, we invest in rebuilding the middle class by creating good-paying jobs in rural America.”

Many communities here in rural Pennsylvania are suffering economically and are therefore vulnerable to the promises offered by fossil fuel reps who tell us that locating a power plant in our own backyard will save us from further economic deterioration.

The gas-fired power plant planned for Renovo, for example, is projected to operate for 30 years, and over that period of time will — as the projected fourth largest polluter in the state — emit greenhouse gases as well as other contaminants that will cause us harm and cost us plenty.

The engineers who designed the plant apparently dismissed the possibility of using renewables to power the plant without giving them the serious consideration they deserve.

It’s probable that the fossil fuel industry is using its enormous influence to ensure we remain dependent on fracked gas.

Because the Renovo plant will use natural gas to generate electricty, it will tie us to the fossil fuel industry for years, at the very time when major investment companies have committed to divest nearly $15 trillion from a failing industry.

Just this past week, the University of Michigan and Amherst College made the pledge to divest.

The Rural Renewable Energy Program proposed by the UDSA will, if implemented, prevent Pennsylvania from being left behind as the country transitions to a renewables-based economy.

The program offers enormous possibility and is worthy of our support.

A listening session will be held virtually on Thursday, April 22 (Earth Day) from 2 to 4:30 p.m.

You can sign up to participate here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5335247546266883854.

The following information was omitted from Friday’s coverage: Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, Tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways.

In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production; ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate; smart food and forestry practices; making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America.

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