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PA Coal Association Opposes Federal Climate Change Bill

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

The Pennsylvania Coal Association (PCA) unanimously voted at its annual board meeting to oppose the federal climate change legislation (H.R. 2454, the Waxman-Markey bill or the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009), which now is before the U.S. Senate.

The statewide association of coal companies said the fundamental problem with Waxman-Markey is its intent to transform the country’s energy use away from coal – our most affordable and reliable source of electricity. In doing so, this would drive up the cost of electricity for businesses and families and create massive job losses.

“With this pending bill, there is no limit to how deeply this process can reach into the pockets of our people, our businesses, education institutions, medical establishments and government entities,” said George Ellis, PCA President. “It will pick the pockets of every resident, while reducing our tax revenues to pay for uncertain returns in global emission reductions.”

A recent study released by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), predicts that the bill could drive electricity costs up an additional 41 percent by 2030 in Pennsylvania, which relies on coal for more than half of its electric generation, as well as to power certain industries, such as steelmaking. The study also warns that the impact on Pennsylvania’s gross state product could be up to $2.5 billion a year by 2020 and more than $20 billion annually by 2030. NAM estimates that the legislation would result in between 71,500 and 97,500 job losses to the Commonwealth by the year 2030, primarily due to hikes in electric and other energy costs as a result of bill provisions.

“While people may not realize it, the average person consumes the equivalent of 20 pounds of coal a day for their energy needs for lights, electronics and other essentials of our daily lives,” Ellis noted. “To the extent any legislation unnecessarily drives up the cost of this commodity or makes it scarcer, it will be a financial burden for Pennsylvanians.”

In Pennsylvania, 56 percent of all electricity is produced from coal. Pennsylvania is the fourth leading coal producing state, mining 68 million tons in 2008. The mining industry constitutes a major source of employment and tax revenue for the Commonwealth, creating 49,100 direct and indirect jobs in 2008, with a total payroll exceeding $2.2 billion. Taxes on these wages netted over $700 million to the coffers of federal, state and local governments.

“For Pennsylvania, there is way too much at risk. Residents need to speak loud and clear to United States Senators Arlen Specter and Bob Casey, and urge a no vote on this bill,” Ellis said.

About Pennsylvania Coal Association (PCA)

The Pennsylvania Coal Association (PCA) is a trade organization representing surface and underground coal operators that produce bituminous coal mined in the Commonwealth. In addition, PCA represents companies whose livelihood depends in whole or in part on a robust coal industry by providing essential services to the coal industry, ranging from engineering and consulting to financial, insurance and the sale of mining equipment.

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