Legislation to Support Coal Jobs Becomes Law
October 5, 2019 - While remaining a major employer in Pennsylvania, the coal industry can be a difficult line of work due to the economy and fluctuations in the markets.
To that end, state Rep. Matt Gabler, R-Clearfield/Elk, has announced that his House Bill 1557 has been signed into law.
“I’m proud that legislation I’ve authored will now take effect, helping the nearly 18,000 men and women statewide who work in the mines, as well as the $4 billion this industry generates annually,” Gabler said. “The coal industry is extremely sensitive to economic headwinds, and any level of stability we can provide for these hard-working Pennsylvanians gives them further peace of mind.”
Gabler’s bill, now Act 74 of 2019, brings Pennsylvania’s Coal Refuse Disposal Control Act into line with federal law by allowing operators to retain their permits during periods of temporary cessation of operations. Previously, retention during cessation of operations was capped at no more than one year. Coal refuse includes the rock and soil that is unearthed during the course of mining and is typically used to remediate legacy pits and highwalls, creating an environmental benefit in the process.
“Act 74 is the product of meetings and discussions with local volunteers from the Quehanna Industrial Development Corporation in Clearfield County and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection,” added Gabler. “It is important to note coal operators must remain in compliance with all permit and water treatment requirements during any pause in operations.
“Last session, we worked successfully with department on a similar provision for surface mining, and I’m glad we could come together on the second part of this effort to give the coal industry some flexibility and its workers some security.”