On Sept. 1, the PA Chamber filed written testimony and delivered oral remarks to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission, urging IRRC to disapprove a regulation that would have Pennsylvania join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – a multi-state carbon allowance trading program for power plants – and send it back to the state’s Environmental Quality Board for further refinement.
Our organization has consistently stressed to lawmakers and regulators that businesses must be at the table for discussions on addressing climate change and deliberations should emphasize transparency about costs and impacts on the state’s energy-intensive industries and ratepayers.
Despite these concerns, IRRC voted 3-2 to approve the regulation. Following the vote, the PA Chamber urged the legislature to exercise its prerogative to move a disapproval resolution, as afforded by the Regulatory Review Act. Standing committees are given 14 calendar days from IRRC’s approval to pass a disapproval resolution; and the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee quickly met Sept. 2 to report out its resolution. The Senate committee will do the same on Tuesday, Sept. 14. Each chamber will then have the longer of 10 session days or 30 calendar days to advance the concurrent resolution, which must be signed by the governor or, if vetoed, enacted through a two-thirds override. This process is expected to take several months, meaning a potential final regulation published in the PA Bulletin in the first quarter of 2022.
At the federal level, as Congress debates a $3.5 trillion partisan budget package, the PA Chamber joined dozens of national and state trade associations and chambers of commerce voicing strident opposition to one of the proposed provisions of the package: an extremely punitive tax on fugitive methane emissions.
The PA Chamber joined an array of groups representing Pennsylvania businesses, including API Pennsylvania, the Marcellus Shale Coalition, the Pennsylvania Forest Products Association, the Pennsylvania Aggregates and Concrete Association and the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association in sending the opposition letter to Congress. The PA Chamber previously voiced opposition in testimony to the US Senate Finance Committee and in a letter to the Congressional delegation regarding another anti-growth energy tax proposal in the package, which would significantly raise the cost of producing domestic oil and gas by repealing provisions related to percentage depletion and intangible drilling costs.
As the nation’s second-largest producer of natural gas and electricity, and the biggest net exporter of electricity in both the nation and the 13-state PJM grid, Pennsylvania’s economic success will continue to hinge on thoughtful energy policy in Harrisburg and Washington D.C. Preserving this preeminent status as a power producer remains core to the PA Chamber’s work to foster a policy environment conducive to expanding economic growth and increasing opportunity for all Pennsylvanians.