John Pippy to advocate for coal industry

Posted July 10, 2012

Scott Beveridge

Former state senator John Pippy has taken a job as chief executive officer of a new Pennsylvania coal advocacy organization, where he will focus on building grassroots support for keeping coal a major U.S. energy player.

Pippy, who resigned June 30 after serving 16 years in the state Legislature, will lead the Pennsylvania Coal Alliance in developing a stronger, unified voice for the industry, the group announced Monday.

“Washington needs common-sense regulations. Currently, they are too far-reaching,” Pippy said Monday afternoon.

He said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been “much more aggressive” by implementing unrealistic regulations on the industry, without input from elected officials, that are making the price of coal artificially high.

The group represents a merger of the Pennsylvania Coal Association and the Monessen-based Families Organized to Represent the Coal Industry.

The formation of the alliance comes at a time when coal is facing more competition from the booming Marcellus Shale natural gas industry.

Pippy said the alliance doesn’t have a problem with gas and that a strong U.S. energy portfolio would include both complimenting energy industries.

“That’s not the issue,” he said.

Pippy said he will not work for the alliance as a lobbyist. He said a focus of the alliance will include work to help ensure Pennsylvanians have access to affordable energy created at coal-burning power plants.

The former PCA director, George Ellis, will lobby for the alliance and assume a new position as its president, said Pippy, of Moon, who served as a Republican in Harrisburg.

“We are advocating for more than 40,000 coal companies, workers and families, and suppliers but the reach of the industry and our alliance is much broader than that,” Pippy said in announcing the alliance.

“Any Pennsylvanian that owns a home, uses an air-conditioner, buys from local businesses, or just wants reliable, affordable and cleaner energy for their family is directly affected by the coal industry’s future. We are ready and proud to fight for these people,” Pippy added.

The former offices of FORCE at 1200 Maronda Way in Monessen will remain open, he said. Copyright Observer Publishing Co.