EPA Coal Regulations Cast Job-Killing Cloud Over Pennsylvania's Economy
Pennsylvanians are being hit hard and fast by the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) newest regulations. As recently reported, two regional coal companies were forced to downsize laying off hundreds of workers.
However, this is just the tip of the iceberg for the 52,000 Pennsylvanians who rely on the coal industry for a paycheck. The EPA regulations have struck a major blow to all coal companies.
These layoffs come at a time when our economy is struggling to stay afloat and hardworking Americans are fighting against an 8 percent unemployment rate.
When people know the facts they are far less ready to wage war on coal. The bituminous coal found in Western Pennsylvania is vital to the state in terms of jobs and electricity generation. Ninety five percent of Pennsylvania's bituminous coal ends up generating electricity and 56 percent is used to generate power right here in our own state.
Much of our coal is used by industry, especially steel. It is no accident the largest coke plant in North America is right here in my district of Clairton and U.S. Steel has made a tremendous investment to enlarge and bring the latest technology to ensure it continues to remain competitive and provide jobs for several generations of steel workers. Most of the coal supplying that plant comes from Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
By the way, speaking of jobs, coal industry employees are among the highest paid industrial workers in Pennsylvania, and the number of coal-related jobs amount to an economic force multiplier.
We all support clean air, and coal-fueled power plants have spent billions of dollars upgrading the ability to provide clean energy. Those plants provide high-paying jobs, in many cases union jobs, that scores of my constituents have told me they deeply appreciate and rely on.
We have worked hard to enhance the air quality in the region and it has improved exponentially. The new EPA regulations however, won't result in a measurable difference in air quality. This creates a reality in which the EPA is forcing Americans out of work with nothing to show in return. It's agenda is inconsistent with that of the people and its time we stand up to the tyranny of the EPA.
We can enjoy clean air and a vibrant economy powered in part by the most available and cheapest energy source in the world -- coal. Yes, right here in the cradle of coal. With our coal and natural gas resources Pennsylvania stands to be an energy giant long into the future.
It's time bureaucrats and politicians in Washington begin to face the facts and start to help create jobs rather than destroy them.
It is imperative that we develop a well-thought-out environmental and energy policy that supports the taxpayer and the average citizen ahead of an ideological agenda that hurts our nation, debilitates our economy and disregards the people's welfare.