Yaw: DEP Must Address Skyrocketing RGGI Auction Prices

HARRISBURG – Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23) said the Department of Environmental Protection must address skyrocketing clearing prices set during recent Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) auctions. 

Yaw, as chairman of Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, in a letter sent Thursday, encouraged DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell to reconsider his invitation to testify at the panel’s Jan. 18 hearing to discuss the issue. 

“Given recent developments, historic RGGI carbon tax inflation, overall inflation pressures, and recent default service rate increases, now is the time to discuss this issue,” Sen. Yaw said. 

When Gov. Tom Wolf signed an executive order that would enter Pennsylvania into the regional carbon tax consortium this year, auction clearing prices ­– the amount energy producers pay to buy “credits” to offset their emissions – were less than $3 per short ton. 

Despite ICF International modeling to the contrary, the most recent auction clearing price set on Dec. 1 exceeded $13 per short ton, more than four times what the department forecasted and 40% above the Sept. 8 clearing price alone. 

“The Department authorized over $400,000 in taxpayer funded money to pay for this modeling,” Sen. Yaw said. “Questions need to be asked and answers need to be provided.”

Yaw and 161 other state lawmakers oppose RGGI because it will spike electricity rates, force plant closures, cost thousands of jobs, threaten the power grid’s reliability and derail future economic investment. 

To read the entirety of Sen. Yaw’s letter to Secretary McDonnell, click here.

CONTACT: Nick Troutman, Chief of Staff, 717-787-3280