Pittsburgh rally to address FirstEnergy plant deactivation plans
By Patrick Cloonan
Published: Friday, July 12, 2013, 2:41 a.m.
A rally on Friday in Pittsburgh will address FirstEnergy's decision to deactivate coal-fired power plants in Union Township and Masontown.
U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, will join workers, tradesmen, coal miners and utility workers for the 1 p.m. event at the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers hall along Banksville Road.
The rally comes on the heels of FirstEnergy's decision that will displace 380 workers at the Mitchell plant in Courtney, just south of Jefferson Hills, and at Hatfield's Ferry in Masontown.
It is the third round of coal-fired power plant closings in the past 18 months for FirstEnergy, Ohio-based parent company of West Penn Power.
“I am deeply concerned about their loss of jobs,” said Murphy, whose 18th District includes the Courtney plant.
Murphy and other lawmakers blame new regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency. As chairman of the House Energy Oversight Committee, he is investigating those regulations.
“Measures by President Obama without any congressional review or oversight are a serious problem,” Murphy said.
Murphy joined other Pennsylvania Republican congressmen in signing a letter sent by Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Allentown, to the White House, urging reversal of EPA plans to issue greenhouse gas regulations for new electricity generating units. The letter cited Pennsylvania's status as the fourth-largest coal producer and the “nearly 50,000 direct and indirect jobs” it produces.
“The EPA has estimated that adopting this rule would increase the cost of electricity from coal-fired power plants by as much as 80 percent,” Toomey wrote. “Such a cost increase would make coal-fired plants uneconomical, leading some to close and very likely stop the construction of new plants.”
Electric Power Generation Association president Jacob G. Smeltz said the EPA rules are not the only problem, citing “a depression in demand due to a stagnating economy” as well as the abundance and price of natural gas.
Murphy said the closures will have a ripple effect that will include electric bills.
The FirstEnergy decision drew positive comments from environmental activists, such as Tiffany Hickman, western regional coordinator for Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future, or PennFuture.
“There is little doubt that the Hatfield's Ferry and Mitchell power stations are contributors of harmful pollution in southwest Pennsylvania, and nearby residents will breathe easier after the closures,” Hickman posted on a PennFuture blog.
Others involved in the rally include the Pennsylvania Coal Alliance, headed by former state Sen. John Pippy, R-Moon Township, as well as the United Mine Workers, Pittsburgh Building Trades, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, International Brotherhood of Carpenters and Laborers International Union of North America.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Community group to preserve Dravosburg cemetery’s history
- McKeesport man wanted in shooting nabbed in Elizabeth Township
- McKeesport crews prep for new KaBOOM! playground
- Oakmont father-son team’s efforts help add Mon Valley names to police memorial
- McKeesport student to celebrate Jackie Robinson’s legacy
- 5 Operation Pork Chop defendants sentenced to 5 years probation
- Serra Catholic High School friary to house foreign students
- 2 key Operation Pork Chop defendants delay pleas
- Parole denied for man convicted in 1997 slaying of 14-month-old
- Dravosburg residents try to save PNC Bank from closing
- East Allegheny board to take time to evaluate oil, gas agreement with EQT Production Co.