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SUSTAINABLE ELECTION 2022 - PA Governor's Race

Laws and policies that promote sustainability would help grow our economy, create jobs, improve quality of life in our communities, make us healthier, reduce risks to our national security, and improve the lives of the poorest among us. Widener Law Commonwealth's Environmental Law and Sustainability Center provides this information on the candidates’ sustainability positions in the spirit of public service, to help voters make informed decisions.

Issue: Shapiro: Mastriano:
Green Jobs and Green Business When questioned about Pennsylvania joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Shapiro expressed “real concerns about the impact it will have on consumer prices.” Yet he wishes to move forward if elected; “when I am governor, I will get all the interests around the table, from the energy sector to the labor unions, to environmental advocates, and sit down and come up with a new dynamic, that is going to protect everyone’s interest.”  SOURCE When asked about his stance on Pennsylvania staying a part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), Mastriano stated: “We must abandon RGGI and focus on policies that support Pennsylvania’s energy production, create jobs and raise incomes so Pennsylvanians can thrive – not merely survive – in the years to come.”  SOURCE  
Investment in Environmental Infrastructure Shapiro wishes to increase investment into renewable energy production in PA and wants to push the state to net zero emissions for 2050 by shifting to a "clean energy economy in Pennsylvania that would combat the climate crisis.”   SOURCE  
Clean Energy If elected Shapiro wishes to promote solar projects and adopt measures to increase access to renewable energy sources. Shapiro will invest to plug abandoned wells across the state to curb emissions and create jobs, invest in zero-carbon technology, and provide financial incentives to help bring zero-carbon technologies to commercial readiness. SOURCE “We need to open more of our lands for fracking and drilling. The blessing of Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania is still underutilized with untapped deposits of natural gas. We need to make it enticing for companies to invest money and equipment in developing those lands.”  - Mastriano. SOURCE`  

Mastriano criticizes the clean energy sector, saying that “shareholders will grow richer, and their government friends will continue subsidizing tax breaks for greener technologies – like electric cars and solar panels – that few can afford”  SOURCE
Sustainable Agriculture Shapiro has pledged on his campaign site that he will invest in agricultural infrastructure and ensure that farmers have the financing and investments necessary for agricultural production and remain competitive and profitable. SOURCE  “Pennsylvania’s agricultural land provides scenic images of rural life landscaped across fertile valleys of surrounding hills and mountains. These open spaces are a beautiful backdrop and draw thousands to our state to spend money in Pennsylvania’s growing agritourism business. We must act now to preserve these lands. -Mastriano SOURCE
Climate Change Shapiro recognizes the problems of climate change but wishes to balance his approach regarding the impact policies can have on the economy “Energy policy for me must pass the test of protecting jobs, lowering consumer prices, and addressing climate change.”  SOURCE Asked if global warming is real, Mastriano responded: “It is not. It’s fake science, and it’s a racket at the academic level.”  SOURCE 
Environmental Protection Shapiro wishes to hold polluters more accountable “... we'll make sure that we have a Department of Environmental Protection that's actually on the side of the people, and actually meeting the obligation under our state constitution, to providing for clean air and pure water."  SOURCE “With our abundant resources, Pennsylvania should be largely immune to energy cost volatility. Cumbersome regulations, permitting delays, and misguided restrictions are handicapping the potential of our energy sector.  Many companies simply choose to invest in states that are more energy friendly. Market volatility will not go away anytime soon. It’s time to take steps now to assert energy independence.”- Mastriano. SOURCE
Parks and Forests   Mastriano voted in favor of the 2022-2023 General Budget. He highlighted the following areas of the budget in expressing support including, funding for Conservation Districts increasing by $6.8 million, and the budget including $56 million in state funds to create a new State Parks and Forests Infrastructure Program and $100 million in federal funding for state parks and outdoor recreation. SOURCE 

Mastriano has pledged to boost the state’s fossil fuel industries, including by allowing drilling in state parks and forests. SOURCE
Land Use Shapiro accepts fracking and if elected as Governor, intends to implement recommendation from the 2020 Attorney General's Office report on fracking to engage in “responsible fracking.”  SOURCE Mastriano has stated: “It’s time to roll back the regulations, open up lands, and develop these resources without being infringed upon by so much over-taxation or fees from Harrisburg.”  SOURCE 
COVID-19 Shapiro has personally believed that some of the school closure policy was wrong saying, “This is an area where I think folks got it wrong,” and does not believe in state mandates. Rather, “the approach we need to take more broadly as a public, which is to educate, empower and respect people’s personal decisions and respect their personal freedom to make those choices.”  SOURCE Mastriano said he will “reject” COVID-19 policies handed down by the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adding that he will ban policies that mandate masks and COVID-19 vaccines. SOURCE 
Racial Justice Shapiro recognizes “the reality today is that too many Black Pennsylvanians face significant barriers that keep them from fully accessing our financial systems and labor markets.” He plans to address these issues by “... increase housing stability and homeownership, and address health inequities in Black communities.”  SOURCE Mastriano introduced legislation in 2019 banning abortion once a heartbeat is detected. He has described this stance in terms of racial justice, saying, “The white nationalist patron of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, used ‘family planning’ to deliberately target minorities.  According to recent statistics from the Department of Health, the African American and Latino populations of Pennsylvania suffer more than half of all abortions in the commonwealth despite accounting for only about 18% of our populace.”  SOURCE

The Center does not endorse any particular candidates, and no endorsement should be implied. In addition, the Center does not endorse or affirm the accuracy of any statements made by any candidate about matters of fact. Research and writing for the candidates’ positions was done by Alexis Rostucher, Lindsay A Williamson, Andrew Wuerz, and Jacob Yarmey, students at Widener Law Commonwealth.