Attorney General’s Office Approves RGGI Despite Initial Concerns

Although Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced in October that he had concerns about Pennsylvania entering into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, his Office of Legal Review approved a rule on Tuesday allowing the state’s participation.

The Wolf Administration has made joining RGGI a crucial part of its plan to address climate change. RGGI is a regional cap-and-trade program with 11 other mid-Atlantic states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector. Under it, power plants must pay for each ton of carbon dioxide they emit.

“The Office of Legal Review analyzed the rule-making packet and determined that existing state law does not prevent this regulation from being promulgated,” according to an official statement released by Shapiro’s office. “The rule of law is the foundation of all the work of our office. The scope of our review under the Commonwealth Attorneys Act is limited, and we are prevented by law from rejecting a proposed regulation based on policy concerns.”

However, Shapiro, who is also a Democratic candidate for governor, said in a statement from his campaign in October that, “As governor, I will implement an energy strategy which passes that test, and it’s not clear to me that RGGI does.”

A disapproval resolution of the RGGI rule is expected to be voted on this week. As Wolf will likely veto it, a two-thirds majority vote in the General Assembly would be needed to override the veto. This action could be anticipated in the first quarter of 2022 or later.


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