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Commentary: Steel Can Have a Strong,
Responsible Future in Pennsylvania

By Submitted Report
The Tube City Almanac
May 25, 2021
Posted in: Commentary-Editorial

State Rep. Nick Pisciottano of West Mifflin was recently elected from the 38th Legislative District. He writes:

Imagine this: It is 2023 and President Biden is standing outside of U.S. Steel’s Edgar Thomson Plant — the first of Andrew Carnegie’s steel mills, built in 1873, that turned Pittsburgh into the Steel City — to announce the country’s most technologically advanced steel making process has just been installed in the plant.

These improvements allow for the continued manufacturing of steel, right here in the Monongahela Valley, and will create the steel of the future used to build high-rises, bridges, vehicles, home appliances and much more, while providing high-quality, union jobs to our community in an environmentally responsible manner. Once again, Pittsburgh would be the center of steel production for the entire nation.

This doesn’t have to be just a dream.

Following U.S. Steel’s announcement that it was setting aside its planned $1.5 billion investment in the Mon Valley Works, there was fear for the future of steel in the “Steel Valley” and frustration at losing such a large economic investment. However, the unique combination of assets in our region can provide a pathway forward to a new generation of manufacturing.

Right now, European countries are pioneering more environmentally friendly methods of making steel. Pittsburgh’s world-class universities and philanthropic organizations are frequently on the cutting edge of next generation technology in robotics, computing, health sciences and more.

Why not invest in research that supports the future of Pittsburgh’s most famous industry? U.S. Steel has committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Why not help them do that here in the place where America’s steel industry was born?

Recently, President Biden stated that there is no reason why turbines can’t be made in Pittsburgh instead of China. He’s right — the question is, what’s holding us back?

We have thousands of steelworkers in the Mon Valley who are the best at what they do.

We have many skilled trade workers who can build and rebuild any plant in the world multiple times over.

We have generations of families who have devoted themselves with great pride to creating the steel that builds our nation.

We have charitable foundations and local centers of innovation to help our industry move into the future with new technology, while also protecting the environment.

Why not here? This problem can, and should, be solved through collaboration between government, industry, labor, and research organizations.

There is no reason why Carnegie’s original steel mill on the banks of the Mon River cannot celebrate its 150th birthday by becoming the first next generation steel mill in the country. With open dialogue and strategic investment, we can have good jobs, a clean environment, and a revived American manufacturing industry in our own backyard.

Let’s get it done.

Nick Pisciottano represents the 38th Legislative District, which includes Dravosburg, Glassport, Liberty, Pleasant Hills and Port Vue and part of Baldwin Borough, South Park Twp. and West Mifflin.

Originally published May 25, 2021.

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