The Sentinel

House ERE Committee Votes on RGGI Disapproval Resolution

August 2, 2021

On July 28, the House Environmental Resources and Energy (ERE) Committee convened to vote on sending a letter expressing disapproval of the Wolf administration’s proposed regulation joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a regional cap-and-trade program for power plants. The letter will be sent to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC), who along with the standing committees in the House and Senate and the Office of Attorney General, will review the regulation for final publication under the state’s Regulatory Review Act. The Environmental Quality Board (EQB), the rulemaking board which promulgates DEP’s regulations, advanced the rule on a 15-4 vote earlier in July. The IRRC is expected to vote on the rule on September 1.

 

The PA Chamber has continually expressed support for a balanced energy and environmental policy, recognized the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on climate change and the potential for market-based approaches to be more efficient than command-and-control regulatory schemes. On the other hand, the PA Chamber has also expressed the need for the state to meaningfully account for the potential for leakage (or the shift in power generation to non-RGGI states within the 13-state grid where our state is the number one power producer), clearly and plainly state costs and benefits and protect our manufacturing sector.

 

Legislation is also pending in the General Assembly to require legislative approval to join multi-state carbon trading programs like RGGI. SB 119 passed the Senate by a vote of 35-15 on June 14, 2021 and has been referred to the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.  If neither this legislation nor disapproval resolutions – both of which are subject to gubernatorial veto – are enacted into law, Pennsylvania will join RGGI the quarter following the publication of the final rule in the Pennsylvania Bulletin

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Founded in 1916, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.