The latest news, research, and analysis from the Ohio River Valley Institute.
June 30, 2021
A newreportfrom the Ohio River Valley Institute outlines the economic opportunities of theRegional Greenhouse Gas Institute (RGGI), a cap-and-invest program for greenhouse gas emissions currently in place in eleven U.S. states. Pennsylvania could be next to reap the program’s economic benefits, ORVI Research Fellow Joe Cullen argues.
As market forces continue to drive down coal’s share of electricity generation in Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth should adopt RGGI and use a significant portion of new RGGI funding to assist coal plant workers and coal communities, investing in local economies to create jobs and a more prosperous future.
Meanwhile, the outsized influence of Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) continues to dominate energy and infrastructure conversations in West Virginia and across the nation. He’s poised to deliver a legislative home run on abandoned mine land (AML) reclamation and orphan oil and gas well restoration, but first he has to “swing at the ball,” Senior Researcher Ted Boettner
With Pennsylvania’s coal plants facing an uncertain future as the energy market continues its transition to gas and renewable energy, the Ohio River Valley Institute’s latest report, authored by Research Fellow Joseph Cullen, examines the potential role that the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) could play in economic and workforce development, particularly in those coal communities most impacted by plant closures and related job losses.
The report tracks the steady decline of coal-fired electricity in Pennsylvania over the last two decades. It also contains case studies of coal power plant closures in New York, Massachusetts, Colorado, and Washington that provide lessons for Pennsylvania in helping sustain and strengthen local communities. This is the first analysis of its kind to draw from the experience of these other states to help inform decision-making in Pennsylvania.
The PTTGC ethane cracker, proposed for construction in Belmont County, Ohio, continues to face stiff market headwinds, even as PTTGC America spokesperson Dan Williamson claimed the Thai company had “committed to a midyear decision.”
Senior Researcher Sean O’Leary spells out the economic factors working against further investment in the facility, concluding that the cracker plant’s cost, competition, and risk are greater than ever before.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) pointed to a recent Ohio River Valley Institute report in a Senate committee last week on the huge economic opportunities of abandoned coal mine reclamation.
The senator’s energy infrastructure package would provide $11.3 billion to reclaim AML damage over 15 years—a “mountain of difference” compared to current federal AML spending, but still not nearly bold enough to comprehensively address the scope of the problem, Research Fellow Eric Dixon warns.
More than 1 million abandoned wells are scattered across the U.S., left behind when oil and gas companies cease operations. Cleaning them up could create thousands of jobs in Appalachia alone. “This is about creating jobs where people want to work and want to live, and not about dislocating them to places they don’t want to be,” Senior Researcher Ted Boettner told Jeff Berardelli of CBS News.
In an evenly divided Senate, Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) could have the final say on the passage of President Joe Biden’s jobs and infrastructure plan, a package that researchers say could carry West Virginia and greater Appalachia through an energy transition away from coal and fossil fuels. “I think it would be just a huge mistake for the senator’s legacy to not swing at the ball here,” said Senior Researcher Ted Boettner.