The Pennsylvania Coal Association today applauded State House Members for voting to set aside $25 million in funding for the installation of pollution control devices at small, coal-fired plants.
"Today, the House took an important step towards protecting Pennsylvania jobs, Pennsylvania coal and Pennsylvania power producers," said George Ellis, President of the PA Coal Association. "This bipartisan show of support tells us that our lawmakers are serious about including clean coal technologies in our long term energy independence strategy."
During debate of a bill that would authorize $850 million in new spending on alternative energy sources, House Environmental Resources and Energy Chairman Bud George (D-Clearfield) offered an amendment to set aside $25 million of that fund to help small coal-fired generators install expensive new equipment to come into compliance with new air quality standards. The amendment, which is similar in nature to language included in a companion senate bill authored by Senator Mary Jo White (R-Venango), passed the House 185-15.
Small generators have argued that without this critical funding, they may be forced to close, putting hundreds of Pennsylvanians out of work.
For the PA Coal Association, it was an important victory for an industry now poised to play a large role in the debate on alternative energy.
"If our smaller plants can count on this type of assistance from state government, they will stay in business, and that means a bright future for Pennsylvania coal," said Ellis, noting that small generators burn about 10 million tons of Pennsylvania coal a year. "We fully support Governor Rendell's vision of Pennsylvania as a leader in the alternative energy filed, and we want to be a partner in achieving that vision."
The bill awaits final passage in the House, and is currently scheduled for a vote on March 10 when lawmakers return to Session. The PA Coal Association said it will lobby hard for its passage.