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Following Outreach from Governor Shapiro and Pennsylvania Workers, U.S. Department of Energy Releases Rule That Saves 1,100 Western Pennsylvania Union Jobs

Governor Shapiro sent a letter to DOE outlining Pennsylvanians’ concerns, asking for more flexible timeframe and additional time to upgrade manufacturing processes.

The final DOE rule allows Cleveland-Cliffs Butler Works to continue producing steel that is needed for critical infrastructure work in the United States, while safeguarding more than one thousand Pennsylvania jobs and reducing carbon emissions through new innovation.

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Josh Shapiro thanked U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Jennifer Granholm for adjusting energy efficiency standards for critical grid components like distribution transformers and materials like grain-oriented electrical steel, which is produced at the Cleveland-Cliffs Butler Works plant in Butler County.

In March, Governor Shapiro sent a letter to the White House Office of Management and Budget, outlining concerns that the DOE’s proposed rulemaking went too far too quickly, restricting the ability of transformers – devices that convey electricity – to utilize traditional steel designs within a short three-year timeframe.

Pennsylvania’s Butler Works Plant is an industry leader and the sole domestic manufacturer of grain-oriented electrical steel, and the proposed rule threatened to eliminate the 1,100 Pennsylvania based jobs at the plant, as well as shut down an important manufacturer at a time when the United States has an increased need for transformers to produce electricity for infrastructure projects across the country.

After engaging in conversations with the Shapiro Administration, DOE’s final rule reflects Pennsylvania’s primary concerns, protecting critical union jobs and Pennsylvania workers while also making critical investments to help Butler Works and other manufacturers reduce their energy bills through a $75 million grant to reduce carbon emissions.

“Pennsylvania is a national energy leader, and the skilled workers at Cleveland Cliffs in Butler County know how to build the transformers that power our nation’s critical infrastructure,” said Governor Josh Shapiro. “I engaged directly with Secretary Granholm and the Biden Administration to ensure Pennsylvanians’ concerns about the proposed rules were heard, and I want to thank them for making sure the final rule will allow for Butler Works to continue its existing line of steel production in Western Pennsylvania, while supporting upgrades that will help spur innovation, protect jobs, and reduce carbon emissions from the plant. As a result, we have saved thousands of union jobs at the Cleveland-Cliffs Butler Works facility, meaning those workers are going to continue to be able to put food on the table and to prosper here in Pennsylvania. Here in the Commonwealth, we know the hardworking Pennsylvanians in the energy sector are critical pieces of our economy – and we’re grateful to the Biden Administration for this commitment to protecting and creating energy jobs, while creating a more efficient, cost effective, and reliable grid in the long term.”

Following the DOE’s announcement that they would adjust their rulemaking to allow for a longer timeframe for companies to continue relying on the type of steel produced at the plant in Butler County, Cleveland-Cliffs Butler Works said they expect to see an increase in demand for grain-oriented electrical steel, not only keeping the 1,100 jobs but opening the possibility for expansion.

View Governor Shapiro’s letter to the Biden Administration regarding the proposed rulemaking here.

Read more about the Shapiro Administration’s efforts to engage DOE and protect more than a thousand critical jobs in Pennsylvania here.

MEDIA CONTACT: Governor’s Press Office, ra-gvgovpress@pa.gov   

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