Mayor Bill Peduto: " certainly believe that Western Pennsylvania can be the leader in the green building revolution."

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Peduto administration is joining with mayors from three other states for an initiative aimed at helping the Ohio River Valley and upper Appalachian region transition to a green economy.

Mayor Bill Peduto says the “Marshall Plan for Middle America” was created through scientific research lead by the University of Pittsburgh Center for Sustainable Business, along with the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the city of Pittsburgh, the Steel Valley Authority and other groups.

(Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Ian Smith)

Eight cities in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky are joining forces for the initiative.

According to the research, the plan could reduce carbon emissions across the region by 50% in 2030, and eliminate them entirely by 2050.

Peduto says the gas and oil business is dying.

“If we do nothing over the next 10 years, a four-state region will lose 100,000 jobs in the fossil fuel industry,” Peduto said.

By shifting to clean energy like solar, wind and electric vehicles, the study suggests new industries could create upwards of 400,000 new jobs.

“Instead of the Ohio Valley becoming the petrochemical capital of America,” Peduto says, “we can become the renewable energy and the 21st century green economy that we believe we can be.”

However, the Marshall Plan comes with a price tag of $60 billion a year over the next 10 years.

Peduto says he’s working with energy companies to save existing jobs.

“This is not trying to take your job away, this is not trying to drive a factory that you have relied on for generations,” he said. “This is to make sure there is something there for your children.”

The mayor is calling for federal and state support along with private dollars to help move the project along.

He says he’s already spoken with the incoming Biden administration about it.

“I certainly believe that Western Pennsylvania can be the leader in the green building revolution,” Peduto said.

The Marshall Plan for Middle America is modeled after the Marshall Plan that rebuilt Western Europe after World War II. It was helmed by General George C. Marshall, who was from Uniontown.

To read the full Marshall Plan, visit this link.