Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Appalachian Regional Commission Awards $15 Million+ For Trails, Job Training, Broadband In PA Communities Impacted By Slowdown In Coal; RGGI Could Help More

The grants went to communities impacted by the slowdown of the coal industry.

The projects include--

-- Crawford County: $1.5 million for Erie to Pittsburgh Trail-PA Wilds Loop Trail Construction.

“We are grateful to the Crawford County Board of Commissioners for their vision in pursuing this extraordinary opportunity,” said Brett Hollern, Program Manager for PA Environmental Council, which will manage the projects on the County’s behalf. “Likewise, we couldn’t have secured these resources without the help of local trail groups and our other partner organizations, and the vital support we received from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).”

-- Allegheny County: $994,883 to Catalyst Connection for REAL Jobs in Energy & Manufacturing in Pittsburgh;

-- Allegheny County: $946,000 to Allegheny Health Network for Road To Recovery and Reemployment;

-- Armstrong County: $750,000 to Armstrong County for Critical Infrastructure Workforce Academy;

-- Cambria County: $1.28 million for JARI Growth Fund, Inc. Johnstown;

-- Clearfield County: $500,000 to City of DuBoise for Penn Highlands Healthcare Behavioral Health Hospital;

-- Elk County: $600,000 to North Center PA Regional Planning & Development Commission for PA LDDAP Statewide Broadband Initiative;

-- Erie County: $1.49 million Penn State University enhancing the Tri-State Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Through The Innovation Beehive Network;

-- Fayette County: $917,368 to Fayette County for Recovery to Reemployment (remote monitoring);

-- Lancaster County: $1 million for Building A Peer Support Workforce in PA

-- Union County: $2.5 million for 4-county Central PA rural broadband deployment implementation;

-- Union County: $1 million for Reboot Workforce Program;

-- Wayne County: $1.5 million Recovery-To-Work Facility;

Click Here for more information on each projectClick Here for more on the ARC POWER Initiative.

RGGI Proposal Could Provide Help

Communities impacted by the slowdown in the coal industry could receive similar help under DEP’s proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Program covering power plants, if the folks now running the Senate and House choose to provide this help to their communities.

DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell has pointed out several times-- with or without the Carbon Pollution Reduction Program-- coal-fired power plants will close and the workers and communities will be impacted.  Read more here.

Eighteen coal-fired power plants have shut down in Pennsylvania due to competition with natural gas and other market forces with no help provided to those workers or communities to help them transition to new economic opportunities.  Read more here.

On September 15, the Environmental Quality Board voted 13 to 6 to approve the Carbon Pollution Reduction Program for public comment, but legislation is needed to provide this kind of economic assistance.  Read more here.

On July 30, Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, Jr. (D-Allegheny) introduced Senate Bill 15 which, consistent with existing statutory authority, provides for the adoption of a “Cap and Invest” program to reduce carbon pollution from power plants and for the use of proceeds from the program to protect communities and workers already adversely affected by the changing energy economy, provide low-income assistance with energy bills and promotes clean energy and energy efficiency. Read more here.

Similar legislation was introduced in the House-- House Bill 2856-- by Rep. Carolyn Comitta (D-Chester).

Visit DEP’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative webpage to learn more about the proposal.

(Photo: Bruce Mansfield coal-fired power plant in Beaver County closed due to competition with natural gas with no help for workers or the communities.)

Related Articles:

-- Sen. Costa Introduces Bill To Reduce Carbon Pollution From Power Plants, Protect Communities, Workers Already Affected By Changing Energy Economy

-- Senate Virtual Hearing Covers Familiar Ground On Carbon Pollution Reduction Program For Power Plants

-- EQB Votes 13 To 6 To Approve Proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Regulations Covering Power Plants For Public Review

[Posted: October 14, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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