HARRISBURG – State Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23) and Sen. John Yudichak (I-14) along with Rep. Tommy Sankey (R-73) and Rep. Pam Snyder (D-50) today announced that they will serve as Co-Chair’s for the Legislative Coal Caucus during the 2021-2022 Session.
The Coal Caucus is a bipartisan, bicameral legislative caucus that focuses on supporting and enhancing Pennsylvania’s coal mining industry. The caucus serves as a forum through which legislators can become more educated about the coal industry and its significant economic value to local communities, manufacturers, and energy ratepayers.
“Our coal industry has faced some serious headwinds due, in large part, to costly and burdensome federal and state mandates over the years,” Senator Gene Yaw said. “These mandates have had a tremendous impact on our miners, their families and our communities that depend on a strong coal economy. It is critical that we present a unified voice for the industry, our miners and these communities moving forward, and I am happy to join with my colleagues to advocate on their behalf.”
Pennsylvania is the third largest coal producing state in the Unites States with production totaling over 49 million tons in 2019. Pennsylvania coal in addition to being used for power generation, is used to produce steel and cement.
“Pennsylvania has a long history in coal production and remains the third largest coal producing state in the nation,” said Senator John Yudichak. “As the son and grandson of anthracite coal miners, I am pleased to join Senator Yaw and Representatives Sankey and Snyder to continue the discussion on the role coal plays in Pennsylvania.”
Bituminous coal mining helps drive Pennsylvania’s economy, supporting nearly 18,000 direct, indirect, and induced jobs, while contributing $4 billion annually to the state’s economy. The coal industry provides family-sustaining wages and creates this economic value in communities across Pennsylvania, with multiple company locations in more than half of our counties. The industry accounts for 25 percent of the employment in some regions, up to 40 percent of the local tax base, and often serves as a community’s financial cornerstone for economic development.
“Coal remains a crucial resource that is directly tied to the economic vitality of our local communities,” said Representative Tommy Sankey. “For every direct coal mining job in Pennsylvania nearly two additional jobs are created, and that economic impact can be recognized in everything from local restaurants to auto and truck service providers, to the budgets of local school districts. I look forward to working with the Co-Chairs and the caucus to promote innovative policy that further strengths the economic benefits of the coal industry.”
Coal continues to be an essential source of power generation both in Pennsylvania and the 13 state PJM interconnection. In 2019, coal accounted for 17% of the power generated in Pennsylvania, and 24% of the power generated in the PJM. During periods high demand, coal plants are consistently relied upon when other generation sources are diverted or are not available for generation.
“Coal’s availability as a baseload generation source is unparalleled given its affordability, flexibility, reliability and resiliency,” said Representative Pam Snyder. “Nearly 60% of the bituminous coal produced in Pennsylvania is used to generate electricity, and the majority is produced in Greene County. I look forward to working with the Co-Chairs to encourage policies that promote coal’s role as a baseload power source in a diversified energy generation portfolio.”
There are currently over 70 members of the legislative Coal Caucus.