“What happened today is the result of local government leaders letting radical environmental groups like PennFuture, GASP and Breathe PA, funded in part by elitist Pittsburgh Foundations, bully them into abandoning blue collar workers,” Ward wrote.
“The lack of support, and frankly open hostility from some elected officials means the loss of four-million construction man-hours, approximately 1,000 full time union construction jobs and threatens in the longer term 3,000 steel workers,”
Melcher said. “It’s absolutely unacceptable that any politician or business or community leader who claims to be supportive of union jobs and a strong middle class can allow this project to be lost.”
Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D), a populist who supported the project, wrote in a statement that he “will never understand why I was one of the only elected officials who pushed for this major project proactively and enthusiastically, while so many others turned their back on the working men and women of the Steelworkers and Building Trades in Allegheny County.”
Braddock, Pennsylvania, Mayor Chardae Jones, a Democrat, suggested that canceling the investment was U.S. Steel’s “payback” for previously being shut out from fracking in the area.
“Every time I’ve complained to them about air quality, they say the air is better than it used to be,” Jones said of her dealings with U.S. Steel. The corporation has, in the past, been sued by environmental groups alleging they made nearby residents sick from air pollution.
A letter from Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania criticized the lack of support from Allegheny County officials.
“In this case, final permits were never issued by the Department of Environmental Protection or the Allegheny County Health Department despite both entities having nearly two years to review the applications,” the state senators wrote.
“This inaction has cost southwestern Pennsylvanians up to 1,000 immediate construction jobs and diverted billions in direct and indirect economic impacts out of Pennsylvania’s economy,” they continued.