– Legislation that seeks to protect thousands of blue-collar energy jobs in Armstrong County and the southwest region of the state passed the state House Wednesday in a bipartisan vote, said Rep. Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion/Armstrong/Forest).
The measure, contained in Senate Concurrent Regulatory Review Resolution 1, disapproves of the Environmental Quality Board’s approval of Gov. Tom Wolfs effort to enroll Pennsylvania in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The disapproval resolution passed the House 130-70.
“Pennsylvania and its energy partners have shown that we can meet cleaner air standards, and in fact, we have exceeded those goals,” Oberlander said. “That is why it makes no sense as to why the governor and his allies would push forward with this and effectively kill more than 8,000 good jobs, including several hundred in Armstrong County.”
Oberlander is especially concerned that RGGI could shut down the Keystone Generating Station in Plumcreek Township. That clean coal-fired plant supports 1,100 jobs in Armstrong County, with an overall direct impact of $359 million and an indirect impact of $186 million in the county.
The plant also generates more than a half million dollars in real estate school taxes, along with a significant amount of Earned Income Tax from the employees of the plant who reside in the Armstrong School District.
In addition to the loss of both direct and indirect jobs, Oberlander pointed to the inevitable cost of energy rising, with every single electricity consumer paying significantly more. This would not only impact residential utility bills but those of both small and large manufacturers, leading to higher costs of goods and services on top of ever-increasing inflation.
Oberlander also noted that in addition to the poor public policy this initiative would set and the devastating effects on the local and regional economies, the roll-out of the plan shut out the concerns of those impacted most.
“Our communities were given little opportunity to tell their side of the story, and when they were, their concerns fell on deaf ears,” she explained. “After numerous invitations to visit our region, the governor has not stepped foot here. He ignored chances to see how our energy partners have spent millions to reduce pollutants and to ensure cleaner water and air. This issue is about protecting real jobs and real families.”
Senate Concurrent Regulatory Review Resolution No. 1 will now go to the governor’s desk.