Thursday, November 21, 2019
Since 2004, the Seward Power Plant has been a key player in the removal of millions of tons of coal refuse (boney), reclaiming thousands of acres of mine scarred land and restoring hundreds of miles of impaired streams. This wasteland is the result of the thousands of acres of Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) left behind in PA years ago.
Seward plays a key role in eliminating these mountains of waste coal through the electric generating process and being 100% in compliance with all applicable environmental laws. This is good for our environment, communities, and the hundreds of family sustaining jobs gained from this successful effort.
On Friday, November 15, 2019 a joint letter addressed to all Legislative Representatives was signed with the Seward Power Plant Manager, Alan Metzler and Local 459 Business Manager, Paul Cameron urging support for
H.B. 4735, the Mine Affected Community Energy and Environment Act.
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a program to push the market price of some electric generation assets high enough to make them un-economical to run. This tax would add $6.00 to the MWh price for coal plants and up to twice that amount to coal refuse plants like Seward. A coal plant that has been retro-fitted to burn gas, like Shawville would see an additional charge of $3.75 per MWh added to their current MWh price.
Two PA bills where introduced on November 19, 2019 in Harrisburg. SB-950 was introduced by Senator Joe Pittman and HB-2025 was introduced by State Representative Jim Struzzi. If passed, these bills will stop Gov. Wolf and his executive order to have Pennsylvania join Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont in RGGI.
Local 459 Business Manager Paul L. Cameron had an opportunity to give remarks during the introduction press conference for the bills at the state capital in Harrisburg, PA.
The message to Gov. Wolf is simple:
- Why are you putting us out of work for no reason other than political benefit?
- We know that the program will not achieve the climate benefits claimed.
- We know that it will not raise the money that you claim.
- And sadly, we know that it will immediately shutter businesses that have the greatest positive economic impact upon our communities and our economy.
- We know that it will kill our jobs.
- The choice to make this decision without a role for our elected representatives in the legislature and the full legislative process, this seems undemocratic to me and the 1700 members in my local union.
Soon we will ramp up our efforts to support the interest of Local 459 members and we will be asking for the support of all Local 459 members all across the state. We need our entire membership backing this effort.