Sankey Legislation Keeps Electric Bills, Unemployment Numbers Down

CLEARFIELD – State Rep. Tommy Sankey (R-Clearfield) is sponsoring legislation that would repeal Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act. House Bill 1912 currently sits with the House Consumer Affairs Committee, of which Sankey is a member.

“I support the exploration of alternative sources of energy,” said Sankey. “My overlying concern is for the Pennsylvania consumer whose wallet is taking a double hit – first when your electric bill goes up an anticipated 12 percent to 15 percent, and second through the grants that are offered as incentives to promote use of alternative energy.

“Wind and solar power are honorable endeavors that are unfortunately too cost prohibitive to be relied upon heavily. Until we can substantially increase the amount of energy they generate, we cannot rely heavily on them for a significant amount of our electricity needs.”

Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act, which was implemented in 2004, requires an annually increasing percentage of electricity sold to retail customers in Pennsylvania to originate from alternative energy sources. Both electric generation and distribution companies are part of the law and must demonstrate their compliance on an annual basis.

“There are times when paying a bit more is justified when a higher quality product is involved,” Sankey added. “In this case, Pennsylvania consumers are being forced to pay for the same product, obtained through significantly more expensive means. The price tag associated with generating electric power using non-traditional sources will really hurt household budgets – not only in Pennsylvania, but in surrounding states that depend on us as the largest net exporter of electric power in the country.”

Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act requires utilities to obtain 18 percent of their power generation from non-traditional resources by the year 2021. This legislation, coupled with the federal government’s opposition to the coal industry, is a multi-faceted threat to our citizens.

“The federal government is winning the public relations war it is waging against coal,” Sankey admits. “They have managed to convince a significant number of people that it is dirt, not water vapor, coming out of those smoke stacks, and cleaner ways of keeping yours lights turned on are the way to go.

“What they overlook is the technological advances the coal industry has put to use,” Sankey said. “They don’t explain the resurging demand for anthracite (produced only in Pennsylvania) resulting in the re-mining of old abandoned sites and subsequent reduction in acid mine drainage through backfilling that keeps water on the surface.

“They ignore the more than 41,000 people employed in mining, the more than $700 million in combined local, state and federal level generated by the industry, and the $7 billion economic benefit we enjoy thanks to coal,” he concluded.

Questions about this or any legislative topic should be directed to Sankey’s Clearfield office at 814-765-0609 or his Osceola Mills office at 814-339-6544.

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