Lawmakers present new legislation to keep coal refuse industry alive


(WBRE/ WYOU)- Several local lawmakers are joining forces to try and keep the state’s coal refuse industry alive. 
     Senators David Argall (R-29) of District 29 and John Yudichak (D-14) announced new legislation they believe will do just that, while creating more green space in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  

Throughout Pennsylvania you see piles of the debris left from the coal mining industry.
And yet,

“Our children in places like Nanticoke and Nesquehoning have grown up surrounded by a lot more green than when john and I were young,” Argall said.

Senator David Argall and Senator John Yudichak want to continue to see even more green spaces created, and believe the way do that is by having more plants to convert that coal refuse into energy.

 “We don’t get to reclaim those sites unless we have those places like Panther Creek,” Yudichak said.

The energy created at Panther Creek is then sold which pays for cleaning up the tailings.  
The key, say the two legislators, is extending the Coal Refuse Energy and Reclamation Tax Credit until year 2036. First approved in 2016, the new bill would also increase the size of the tax credits from $10 million to $45 million.

This legislation will allow plants like panther creek continue to clean coal refuse piles while also restoring land. They say this will then turn into more recreational, economic and conservation opportunities.

“It is strictly tied to performance. We only earn it if we’ve removed the waste,” Sean Lane, Olympus Power LLC said.

There were once 15 plants like this in the state, two have since gone out of business and four only operate seasonally.

“Our goal is that some day, our grandchildren and our great grandchildren will experience even more green, fewer gray and black landscapes as a direct result of this legislation,” Argall said.

Senators Argall and Yudichak hope it will eventually become a federal tax credit replacing the Pennsylvania credit.

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