Shapiro Energy Plan is Death Sentence for Mine Land Remediation

HARRISBURG – A new energy plan spearheaded by Gov. Josh Shapiro would cripple mine land remediation efforts by closing local electric power plants, according to Sen. Dave Argall (R-29), Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-122), Rep. Jamie Barton (R-124), Rep. Mike Cabell (R-117), Rep. Tim Twardzik (R-123), Rep. JoAnne Stehr (R-107), and Rep. Dane Watro (R-116).

House Bill 2277, one of two new bills to implement Shapiro’s plan, would close all coal refuse plants within a few years, ending their longstanding, impactful work to reclaim abandoned mine lands and restore polluted streams.

“We were able to work across the aisle with Gov. Wolf, despite our differences, to help our local electric power plants survive and continue their important work,” said Argall. “The supporters of this new energy plan would prefer that many of the black and grey wastelands left behind by past mining operations remain for hundreds of more years.”

“Legislators, with common sense and bipartisanship in mind, have always worked together to provide clean air and water for residents throughout Pennsylvania, which includes supporting coal refuse plants,” said Heffley. “Now, Gov. Shapiro and his supporters are drafting plans to shut down these plants without stepping foot in the communities that are impacted the most by mountains of waste coal. If their plans are successful, the plants will shut down, and the waste coal will continue to pollute our waterways and create acid mine drainage and methane seepage, waiting to combust. I strongly urge them to reconsider, talk to the residents living in the communities impacted by these refuse piles and see firsthand the work that has been done to remediate the hazard.”

According to the PA Department of Environmental Protection, coal refuse plants in Pennsylvania have successfully reclaimed over 7,200 acres of abandoned mine land and restored more than 1,200 miles of polluted streams. They remove piles of waste coal to create electricity while also filling in abandoned strip mines.

Local legislators are asking Shapiro to reconsider this effort to kill abandoned mine land remediation efforts across Pennsylvania and to instead work with people in this region to draft a new energy plan.

In 2019 and 2020, Argall and former Sen. John Yudichak championed two pieces of bipartisan legislation to help these plants survive, both of which were signed into law by Wolf. During a public hearing on the impact of this legislation on the coal refuse industry in 2022, testifiers noted that without it, most of these plants would now be closed. House Bill 2277 would undo much of this progress.

Four coal reclamation plants are located in Schuylkill and Carbon Counties, including Rausch Creek Generation in Tremont, Panther Creek Energy Facility in Nesquehoning, Schuylkill Energy Resources in Shenandoah, and John B. Rich Memorial Power Station near Frackville.

CONTACT: Jim Brugger

Back to Top