Rep. Kelly asks DOE Secretary Granholm to explain proposed steel rule

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U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) asked U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Jennifer Granholm to attend an upcoming town hall so she can explain a proposed rule that threatens steel jobs in Butler.

In a letter to the DOE, Kelly asked Granholm to “answer to the community that this proposed rule would so greatly impact.”

“I believe it is essential for Secretary Granholm to explain to the Butler community why this rule is so important and why it’s worth risking 1,300 family-sustaining jobs,” Kelly said. “This rule is shortsighted, it’s wrongheaded, and threatens the entire regional economy. If the Secretary insists this rule is necessary, I believe she deserves to explain why to those who would be greatly impacted by her decision.”

The proposed rule in questions would undermine domestic Grain-Oriented Electrical Steel (GOES), Kelly said. In January 2023, the DOE proposed a rule that mandates the use of amorphous metal (AM) cores instead of GOES cores. Kelly said the proposed rule would exacerbate existing supply chain challenges for distribution transformers and create a shortage of related components. Currently, GOES cores are used in electrical distribution transformers across the country.

Kelly said the rule would also impact Pennsylvania jobs. The Cleveland-Cliffs Butler Works plant is the last American producer of GOES. Switching electrical distribution transformers from GOES to AM cores would potentially cost 1,300 workers at the plant their jobs, Kelly said, and would pose a national security risk as all the major amorphous steel producers are located overseas.

In February, Kelly and U.S. Rep. Chris Deluzio (D-PA) introduced legislation that would prevent the new rule from taking effect and increase the energy efficiency of distribution transformers at levels that preserve market opportunities for GOES cores.