Senate Votes to Disapprove Pennsylvania Joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)

HARRISBURG – The state Senate voted today to disapprove a regulation by the state Environmental Quality Board (EQB) to have Pennsylvania join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), according to Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46).

RGGI requires all participating states to essentially join in a carbon dioxide (CO2) “cap-and-trade” program, effectively creating a new tax on CO2 emissions. However, no other state that participates in RGGI has joined without approval of their respective Legislature. Unfortunately, Governor Wolf and his administration decided to completely disregard the Constitution and join RGGI despite clear opposition from the Legislature, according to Bartolotta.

Bartolotta and her Republican colleagues have stressed the carbon tax would not only violate the state Constitution, which grants exclusive power to the legislative branch to levy taxes, but it would also result in the closure of Pennsylvania’s coal-fired power plants, the loss of jobs and negative impacts on the state’s economy.

“As Chair of the Labor and Industry Committee, I stand united with the numerous building trades and businesses which are opposed to the Governor strongarming Pennsylvania into a carbon tax plan. Joining RGGI would mean losing family-sustaining jobs and skyrocketing costs for consumers at a time when the costs for so many other basic necessities are also rising,” Bartolotta said. “Even worse, those sacrifices would be made without seeing the environmental gains supporters tout because the plants and jobs will simply relocate to less-regulated states.”

RGGI will also mean electricity price increases are likely on their way, as several regulatory boards have warned. In February, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) suggested a one-year pause on the Department of Environmental Protection rule-making to give businesses more time to adjust to the rising costs associated with joining RGGI.

The concurrent resolution now goes to the state House of Representatives, which has a window of 10 legislative days or 30 calendar days to pass the resolution and present it to the governor. If Governor Wolf vetoes the resolution, it will return to the Senate, which may consider overriding the veto.

 

CONTACT: Katrina Hanna, 717-787-1463