Pa. senate disapproves joining Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

Western PA News

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — The state senate voted to disapprove a regulation by the state Environmental Quality Board (EQB) to have Pennsylvania join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

The RGGI coalition runs a CO2 “cap and trade” program though the cost of the “emission allowances” traded within the program is, effectively, a tax on CO2 emissions by electricity producers.

Gov. Wolf said three years ago that Pa. did not need to join the RGGI because Pennsylvania was already doing a good job at reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. A year later Wolf then changed his mind and Pa. joined the RGGI without the approval of the state’s legislature.

While supporters of RGGI promise only positive outcomes, the RGGI “cap and trade” effort shows no added emissions reductions or any health benefits along with the program. And a review of reported emissions changes by RGGI states shows that CO2 emissions changes were from regulatory changes and lower natural gas prices while exporting CO2 emissions to states who import their electricity, such as PA.

Senator Wayne Langerholc said how the carbon tax would result in the closing of the five coal-fired plants in PA.

“Joining RGGI will destroy our economy, shut down our states’ coal-fired power plants, and drastically raise energy prices,” Langerholc said. “It is crucial we continue to fight for hard-working Pennsylvanians. If Gov. Wolf continues with the process of joining RGGI, Cambria County will lose 590 jobs and $122 million in economic impact.”

The House of Representatives has a window of 10 legislative days or 30 calendar days to pass the resolution and present it to Gov. Wolf.  If he vetoes the resolution, it will return to the Senate, which only needs a two-thirds vote to override the veto.

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