Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Joint Conservation Committee Issues Recommendations On Supporting Coal Refuse-Fired Power Plants

On July 7, the Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee
issued a report making recommendations on supporting the coal refuse-fired power plants in response to the DEP proposal to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to reduce carbon emissions from power plants.
The Committee held a series of hearings this year on “how the Commonwealth could strike a balance between the remediative services the coal refuse to energy industry provides and the current initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants.”

The coal refuse to energy industry has removed and burned over 200 million tons of coal waste and restored over 7,000 acres. It also employs 3,000 Pennsylvanians, pays $18 million in taxes and stimulates the economy with over $350 million in direct expenditures, according to the report.

The state now provides support to the industry in the form of a $20 million annual Coal Refuse Energy and Reclamation Tax Credit and includes these power plants in Tier II of the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards allowing them to sell credits for the power they generate.

The report makes the following recommendations:

-- Increase the Coal Refuse to Energy and Remediation annual cap to $40 million from the current $20 million, while also removing caps to allow the full amount to be accessed by the industry.

-- Advocate for a long-term, industry-sustaining federal credit of at least $12 per ton of refuse burned to eventually replace Pennsylvania’s current credit.

-- Create a Power Purchase Agreement with local utilities or state and federal agencies to ensure the plants continue to operate regardless of fluctuations in the energy market.

-- The coal refuse to energy industry set-aside in the DEP’s Draft CO2 rule is vital, however, consider increasing the set-aside amount to

12.5 million tons of coal equivalent to account for decreased production in recent years.

-- Limit participation in Tier II of the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards program to in-state resources to increase credit value.

Click Here for a copy of the report.

Rep. Parke Wentling (R-Mercer) serves as Chair of the Joint Conservation Committee.

For more information, visit the Joint Conservation Committee website, call 717-787-7570, Like them on Facebook or Follow them on TwitterClick Here to sign up for regular updates from the Committee.

Related Article:

-- Joint Conservation Committee: DEP- Coal Waste-Fired Power Plants Will Not Incur Significant Compliance Costs Under Draft RGGI Reg.

-- Cong. Meuser/Cartwright Introduce Bipartisan Federal Tax Credit Bill To Support Coal Refuse-Fired Power Plants

[Posted: July 7, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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