HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania state Sen. Gene Yaw, Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, today talked with members of the Greater Philadelphia Energy Action Team (GPEAT) during a LIVE virtual meeting.
Senator Yaw and Hayley Book, Senior Advisor for Energy & Climate at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), served as guest panelists for the discussion on Pennsylvania’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). RGGI is a cooperative effort among 10 northeastern U.S. states to cap and reduce CO2 emissions from the power sector. States sell nearly all emission allowances through auctions and invest proceeds in energy efficiency, renewable energy and other consumer programs.
Those opposed to Pennsylvania’s participation in RGGI say Governor Wolf lacks the authority for such a unilateral action, citing the fees imposed on power plants for their emissions would be considered taxes and require legislative approval.
“This is a policy decision, and one we believe deserves input from the Legislature,” Sen. Yaw said during the meeting. “We need to pay attention to what is in the best interest of Pennsylvania. I don’t want states like New York and New Jersey dictating our energy policy.”
In February, Yaw noted that Governor Wolf promised to “raise hundreds of millions of dollars … to make our air cleaner.” This statement is terribly misleading and fails to account for the enormous risks to Pennsylvania’s economy and communities in the event of a RGGI carbon tax,” he added.
During the call, the senator noted a series of Senate Committee hearings that were slated to be held on the issue prior to the coronavirus pandemic. While the senator has called on the DEP to postpone any future discussions on RGGI, DEP’s Citizens Advisory Council and the Air Quality Advisory Committee are scheduled to hold a virtual joint meeting on RGGI modeling for April 23.
Today’s GPEAT discussion also highlighted two bills currently pending in the House and Senate. Senate Bill 950 and House Bill 2025 would delineate the process for legislative approval before Pennsylvania imposes any carbon tax on employers engaged in electric generation, manufacturing or other industries operating in the state, or enter into any multi-state program, such as RGGI, that would impose such a tax.
The GPEAT brings together industry leaders committed to delivering affordable energy solutions that will benefit the current families and businesses living and operating in Greater Philadelphia, while attracting new development and growth opportunities. GPEAT is led by Co-Chairs John Walsh, President & CEO, UGI Corporation and Craig E. White, President & CEO, Philadelphia Gas Works.
For more state-related news and information, visit Senator Yaw’s website at www.SenatorGeneYaw.com or on Facebook and Twitter @SenatorGeneYaw.