Join RGGI to support Pennsylvania's coal plant communities
- Oct 15, 2021 4:47 pm GMT
The answer to that critical question is neither academic nor remote, as several coal plant communities are facing hard prospects right now.
One case in point is the
That closure, which was announced by Cheswick's owner along with plants in
These market trends are unlikely to change. A recent study on Coal-Fired Power Plant Retirements in the
What can be done to address with the consequences for coal plant workers and communities of this long-term market trend? To help answer that question, ORVI produced eight case studies, including six from states that have joined to RGGI, to show what investments can be made to create jobs and boost communities affected by energy market changes away from coal. The ORVI Report makes a compelling case for joining RGGI to support
During a public input process on the RGGI proposal in which favorable comments outnumbered the opposition by a ratio of 7 to 1, many made a strong business case for why coal plant communities could benefit from RGGI. As one energy company noted, "with or without RGGI,
Consistent with these views, the
The ORVI Report provided some "show me the money" research on how RGGI funds have already been used in coal plant communities in other states, detailing six examples where RGGI funding has been directly invested in coal plant communities to create jobs and develop economic strategies to replace lost coal plant jobs.
These examples demonstrate that with hard work and consensus building at the local level, RGGI-funded activities can support local coal plant communities, including direct financing for site demolition, repurposing, or cleanup; replacing local tax revenues to support schools and municipalities; supplemental funding for state job training and placement for displaced workers; and assistance for local community planning, project development and support for public-private community investment strategies.
Now is also the time to take advantage of new market trends and federal efforts to stimulate jobs through emergency relief for the COVID crisis and infrastructure investments. In previous studies (Repairing the Damage from Orphan Wells and Abandoned
RGGI opponents have so far offered no new economic development vision or pragmatic solutions to the problems faced by coal communities. RGGI opponents have completely ignored the role that RGGI funding could play in preparing to take advantage of the federal infrastructure investment opportunity.
That brings us back to the fundamental question - what's the best path forward for
Rejecting RGGI and allowing market forces to shutter coal plants with little or no help to cushion job losses, provide site cleanup, and replace lost local tax funding; or adopting RGGI and using a significant portion of new RGGI proceeds, combined with federal infrastructure investments if they are enacted, to create jobs and ease the transition for coal plant workers and local communities across the commonwealth. The choice could not be clearer.
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