Senate Sends Bill Requiring Legislative Approval of RGGI to Governor

HARRISBURG – Yesterday (September 9), the Senate approved, and sent to the Governor, legislation that would increase legislative oversight on the proposal to have Pennsylvania join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), according to Sen. Bob Mensch (R-24).

The Senate approved House Bill 2025, which creates the Pennsylvania Carbon Dioxide Cap and Trade Authorization Act; clarifies that the Administration does not have the authority to unilaterally join RGGI; and, prohibits the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) from joining RGGI without Legislative approval.

On October 3, Governor Wolf directed the DEP to join RGGI – a collaboration of nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. The states (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont) set a cap on total Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions from electric power generators in their states. In order to comply, power plants must purchase a credit or “allowance” for each ton of CO2 they emit.

If Pennsylvania joins RGGI, it would be the only major energy producing state in the compact and the resulting carbon tax on employers engaged in electric generation would devastate that industry and cost thousands of jobs.

House Bill 2025 establishes a series of steps that the DEP would be required to follow to ensure the public is informed and involved before it could submit a RGGI proposal to the General Assembly for consideration.

Initially, the DEP would be required to publish its RGGI legislation in the PA Bulletin and provide a public comment period of at least 180-days. During the comment period, DEP would be required to hold a minimum of four public hearings in locations that would be directly affected economically by the proposal.

Following the public comment period, DEP would be required to submit a report to the House and Senate Environmental Resources & Energy Committees detailing the specific economic and environmental impacts that joining RGGI would have on impacted communities and the Commonwealth.

For more information on Senator Mensch’s legislation, visit www.senatormensch.com.  State updates can also be found on Senator Mensch’s Facebook at facebook.com/PASenatorBobMensch/ or Twitter @SenatorMensch.

 

CONTACT: Madison Scarfaro mscarfaro@pasen.gov  (215) 541-2388