Sen. Yaw Statement on Wolf Plan to Enter Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)

State Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23), Chairman of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, issued the following statement on today’s announcement by Governor Tom Wolf to bring Pennsylvania into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a consortium of 10 states – Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey (effective Jan. 2020), New York, Rhode Island and Vermont – to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“There are a lot of unanswered questions as to what entering RGGI would entail for the citizens of Pennsylvania.  Perhaps the most important is “cost.” How is this going to impact industry?  We have numerous gas fired power plants, as well as coal.  What is the impact going to be on the petrochemical cracker plant in Beaver County? 

I support efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but it is worth noting that, since RGGI began trading allowances in 2009, the current nine RGGI states have reduced carbon emissions by 17%, while Pennsylvania has reduced carbon emissions by 28%.  This was accomplished all without government mandate and at great savings to consumers. 

Furthermore, it is clear to me we have very little in common with New York, New Jersey, and the New England states.  Maybe we have more of an interest with Ohio and West Virginia, especially when it comes to coal and natural gas.  How can we have a common interest with New York and the New England region when they prohibit the importation of our gas?  They thumb their nose at Pennsylvania gas and embrace and purchase gas from Russia. 

For a step of this magnitude, which affects consumers, business, industry and public policy – the legislature, who represents the citizens of this state, must be involved in the dialogue on joining RGGI.  It cannot be a unilateral decision.”

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