Harrisburg – Senator David G. Argall (R – Schuylkill/Berks) and Senator John Yudichak (D – Luzerne/Carbon) announced last week that the Pennsylvania state budget includes a major expansion of the Coal Refuse Energy and Reclamation Tax Credit which will protect over 3,000 energy jobs and continue the successful environmental reclamation work in counties impacted by centuries of coal mining.
The coal refuse industry is Pennsylvania’s private sector partner in producing energy with the environmental benefit of reclaiming over 7,000 acres of abandoned mine land and restoring more than 1,200 miles of polluted streams.
The legacy of coal mining in Pennsylvania persists with over 8,000 acres of abandoned mine lands that contain 220 million tons of coal refuse. The removal of coal refuse piles improves water quality, public health and safety and enables land to be utilized for conservation or economic purposes. It would cost the taxpayers $267 million annually to address the more than 770 coal refuse piles in Pennsylvania without the assistance of the coal refuse industry.
“Pennsylvania must invest with their private sector partners, like the coal refuse industry, to create good energy jobs that help us reclaim lands impacted by the legacy of coal mining which continues to threaten the quality of our land and water,” said Senator John Yudichak.
“The Coal Refuse Energy and Reclamation Tax Credit is a proven economic incentive that has helped set the stage for unprecedented economic growth which has attracted five national companies and created 4,000 new jobs on former abandoned mine land in the South Valley communities of Luzerne County.”
“With the expansion of this tax credit, we can help protect jobs and continue the progress which we have seen over the past few decades,” said Senator Argall. “Growing up, we were surrounded by black mountains of waste coal that polluted our environment. Our children grow up now surrounded by far more green fields and mountains and with the expansion of this tax credit, we hope that our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will experience even more green—rather than brown and gray.”
Under the legislation, the Coal Refuse Energy and Reclamation Tax Credit program will extend the current expiration date of the program from 2026 to 2036 and increases the program’s annual cap from $10 million to $20 million.