HARRISBURG – Coal remains an important part of Pennsylvania’s economy, supporting nearly 18,000 jobs and contributing $4 billion annually. The state House has unanimously passed legislation authored by Rep. Matt Gabler (R-Clearfield/Elk) to protect these jobs, especially during periods of economic downturn.
“Fluctuations in coal markets can create immense difficulty for coal operators and the families who depend on those jobs,” Gabler said. “This idea is the result of discussions facilitated in Clearfield County by volunteers with the Quehanna Industrial Development Corporation. I'm pleased to work on behalf of my constituents in authoring this bill to enable our job creators to be more economically resilient by cutting red tape and removing an arbitrary deadline from our law.”
Gabler’s House Bill 1557
proposes to update Pennsylvania's Coal Refuse Disposal Control Act by enabling sites to retain their permits during a temporary cessation of operations. The legislation may now be taken up in the Senate.
“Under current state law, site operators are allowed to temporarily cease operations for no more than one year,” commented Gabler. “House Bill 1557 eliminates the one-year ‘deadline,’ aligning us with federal law.”
According to Gabler, all permit and water treatment requirements remain the responsibility of the mine operator during cessation of operations.
“This would not absolve anyone of their environmental responsibilities,” he said. “It simply removes a senseless deadline from these job creators, providing stability and predictability for them, their workers and families.
“I appreciate the partnership and cooperation of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in this effort. DEP voluntarily implemented provisions of a similar bill I authored last session for surface mining, and they are again supportive of our efforts to implement this necessary statutory change. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the state Senate to enact this important legislation into law as soon as possible.”
Questions about this legislation or any state-related matter may be directed to Gabler’s DuBois office at 814-375-4688, his St. Marys office at 814-781-6301 or Clearfield office at 814-765-0593.
State Representative Matt Gabler
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Scott Little