State Republicans oppose Shapiro’s energy plan

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Several House Republicans oppose Gov. Josh Shapiro’s energy plan, saying it would close local electric power plants and cripple mine land remediation efforts.

One of two new bills in Shapiro’s plan, House Bill 2277, would close all coal refuse plants within a few years. This would undo two bills signed into law by former Gov. Tom Wolf in 2019 and 2020.

In 2022, coal refuse industry testifiers stated during a public hearing that the bills allowed the plants to avoid closure.

“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,” state Sen. Dave Argall (R-Beaver County) said. “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.”

Coal refuse plants in Pennsylvania have reclaimed more than 7,200 acres of abandoned mine land and restored more than 1,200 miles of polluted streams, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

During the reclaiming process, abandoned strip mines are filled and piles of waste coal are sued to create electricity.

The lawmakers urge Shapiro to reconsider the energy plan.