HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee today held a voting meeting to consider and report five bills to the full Senate.
Lawmakers advanced legislation Thursday that creates the Pennsylvania Carbon Dioxide Cap and Trade Authorization Act. Senate Bill 950 and House Bill 2025 clarifies that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) does not have authority to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) – a compact between several Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states that imposes a carbon tax on electricity production and requires fossil fuel generators to purchase allowances – unless authorized by the General Assembly. The legislation also prohibits similar state or regional greenhouse gas cap-and-trade programs unless authorized by the Legislature. The Committee overwhelmingly approved both measures.
Highlighting Governor Wolf’s unilateral decision and “go-it-alone” approach, members of the Committee noted that the $300 million annual tax on carbon will be paid directly by Pennsylvania electricity consumers and employers alike, while forcing in-state plant closures and boosting energy production in surrounding states, like Ohio and West Virginia. The members have called on the governor to rescind his Executive Order instructing DEP to participate in the RGGI.
The Committee also advanced three other bills:
- Senate Bill 1173, P.N. 1725 (Yaw) – Amends the Air Pollution Control Act to standardize the make-up of the Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee (AQTAC). The bill repeals the current statutory authorization and replaces it with a model that mirrors the appointment process found for the Citizens Advisory Council, the Climate Change Advisory Committee, and several other advisory committees. VOTE: 8-3
- House Bill 1737, P.N. 2439 (A. Davis) – Amends the Economic Development Agency, Fiduciary and Lender Environmental Liability Protection Act (Act 3 of 1995) regarding the definition of Economic Development Agencies. The bill adds “land banks” to the list of economic development agencies and removes them from any environmental liability on properties they purchase for redevelopment. VOTE: 11-0
- House Bill 1808, P.N. 3919 (Mackenzie) – Amends the Solid Waste Management Act (Act 97 of 1980) by adding definitions related to the recycling of plastics and defining “advanced recycling” as a manufacturing process for the conversion of post-use polymers and including methodologies and processes like pyrolysis, gasification and depolymerization. The bill also defines “advanced recycling facility” as a manufacturing facility that receives post-use polymers for the use in advanced recycling. VOTE: 7-4
Archived video, a full list of bills reported by the committee, and a rundown of the business meeting are available on the committee’s website.
Senator Yaw is Chairman of the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.