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Group forms to fight for government help for Three Mile Island

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Jun 6, 2017 2:16 PM
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Photo by Ben Allen/WITF

Three Mile Island, as seen from the Sunset Golf Club in Londonderry Township, Dauphin County.

(Londonderry Township) -- Leaders from government, business and labor want the Legislature to get involved and keep Three Mile Island open past 2019.

Clean Jobs for Pennsylvania - which is getting funding from Exelon, the owner of Three Mile Island - is calling for government help to keep the plant in Dauphin County running.

Last week, it announced plans to shut it down in 2019 without government assistance.

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Photo by Ben Allen/WITF

Dauphin County Commissioner Mike Pries is one of the co-chairs of the new Clean Jobs for Pennsylvania group.

Dauphin County Commissioner Mike Pries is one of the leaders of the clean jobs group and says since government helps out other clean energy industries like wind and solar, it should do the same for nuclear.

But in ads, the natural gas industry is calling any help a nuclear bailout.

"I don't agree that that's the right definition for it. I look at the individuals, the employees and the communities that are going to be negatively impacted by that plant shutting down, and I feel that, as do my colleagues, we feel that these jobs are very important," says Pries.

Opponents of government help for the nuclear power plant in Dauphin County have also argued that the free market should rule.

Pries counters: "Well apparently government's intervened in some of these other energy sources in the past and we think it's only fair to take a hard look at what those opportunities and initiatives and incentives could be for the future."

Pries says 675 people work at Three Mile Island, with a payroll of nearly $60 million.

He says closing the plant would hurt those families, but also many others in the surrounding communities.

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