(HARRISBURG) – State Senator Scott Martin (R-13) voted today to disapprove a Wolf Administration regulation that imposes a tax on Pennsylvania energy producers by entering the state into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
“The law is being ignored where every single interstate compact in the Commonwealth has been done with the approval of the General Assembly,” Senator Martin said. “This is not – despite the fact that we are turning over Pennsylvania’s energy future and prices to other states who have long been resistant to Pennsylvania energy. This is not what is right for Pennsylvania.”
Senator Martin is a member of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee that to adopt Senate Concurrent Regulatory Review Resolution 1, which disapproves a Wolf Administration regulation that paves the way for Pennsylvania to join RGGI, a collaboration of 11 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states that sets a cap on total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from electric power generators in their states.
“What irritates me is that study after study even at the Department of Environmental Protection has shown that there is a minuscule impact on CO2emissions,” Senator Martin said. “We should be proud of the potential we have here to develop clean energy and family sustaining jobs here in Pennsylvania while continuing to build on the 40 percent reduction of CO2 we have already achieved. Instead families are going to be forced to pay more for electricity on tighter and tighter budgets.”
The resolution now goes to the full Senate for consideration. The Senate has either 10 legislative or 30 calendar days – whichever is longer – to consider the disapproval resolution. If approved, the resolution goes to the House chamber, which also has 10 legislative or 30 calendar days window to pass the resolution and present it to the governor.
If the Governor vetoes the disapproval resolution, it will return to the Senate who may consider overriding the veto. Two-thirds of the Senate must support the resolution to override the veto. The measure then goes to the House where the same two-thirds vote is required.
“Joining RGGI is piling on our communities and families by increasing their energy costs by 18 percent while pushing family-sustaining jobs to neighboring states with no plan to transition these workers to other jobs,” Senator Martin said. “This is the wrong public policy for Pennsylvania. It’s these kinds of wrong-headed decisions that you can point to when you see Pennsylvania lagging population growth and employers being chased to other states.”
On October 3, 2019, Governor Wolf directed the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to join RGGI — a collaboration of 11 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. The states (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia) set a cap on total Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions from electric power generators in their states.
To comply, power plants must purchase a credit or “allowance” for each ton of CO2 they emit. Pennsylvania would be the only state in the compact with a substantial number of coal or natural gas power energy production facilities and the only one to join the compact without legislative approval.
Lawmakers have strenuously opposed the Governor’s edict since the beginning, citing that it overstepped the Administration’s powers by usurping the legislature’s exclusive powers to impose taxes and that the carbon tax would devastate local economies and cost thousands of jobs.
For more Senate action on the RGGI rulemaking, click here.
CONTACT: Terry Trego