Last Tuesday, Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court issued a temporary ruling blocking the state’s entrance into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a multi-state compact designed to enact a carbon tax on energy producers. The PA Chamber has opposed Pennsylvania’s entry into RGGI.
Senate Republicans – including Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Bellefonte; Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward, R-Westmoreland; Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Pat Browne, R-Lehigh, and Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Chair Gene Yaw, R-Lycoming, had previously requested a preliminary injunction to halt publication of the regulation during litigation. The request was granted, and a hearing was scheduled for May 4.
Publication would have made the rule official, positioning Pennsylvania to become the first major fossil fuel-producing state to put a price on carbon emissions. RGGI would require Pennsylvania power plant owners to purchase credits at auction for every ton of greenhouse gasses the generators would release into the atmosphere.
Publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin is the final regulatory hurdle for RGGI. However, a final decision about RGGI’s legality will likely still fall to the state Supreme Court.
Last Monday, by a 32-17 vote, the PA Senate failed to override Gov. Wolf’s veto of a resolution that would prevent the Commonwealth from joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Every GOP legislator supported the measure, as did three Allegheny County Democrats – Jim Brewster, Lindsey Williams and Wayne Fontana.