Sens. Gene Yaw (R-23) and John Yudichak (I-14) sent a letter to the Independent Fiscal Office last week requesting an audit of modeling used to justify Pennsylvania’s entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
“The IFO’s impartial analysis has been regarded as among the most trustworthy perspectives in state government for more than a decade,” Yaw said. “The office’s projections will offer clarity on RGGI’s true economic impacts, given the Wolf administration’s repeated unwillingness to do so.”
The senators requested an IFO review after the Department of Environmental Protection refused an invitation to testify before the before the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, of which Yaw is chairman, about skyrocketing RGGI costs not contemplated by prior modeling.
Yudichak, as chairman of the Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee, is planning to host a joint hearing with Yaw’s ERE Committee next month to discuss the IFO’s findings.
“Pennsylvania taxpayers, consumers and businesses deserve honest, accurate information about the proposed RGGI program and how it will impact their everyday lives,” said Yudichak. “The plan is expected to substantially increase utility bills for every small business and homeowner in Pennsylvania.”
When Gov. Tom Wolf signed the 2019 executive order that forced Pennsylvania into the regional carbon tax program, auction clearing prices – the amount energy producers pay to buy “credits” to offset their emissions – were $3.24 per short ton. At that time, taxpayer-funded analysts insisted prices would stay under $4 through 2030.
The most recent auction clearing price set on Dec. 1, however, exceeded $13 per short ton, more than four times what the department estimated and 40% above the Sept. 8 clearing price alone. Inflationary pressures show no sign of slowing down anytime soon, either, meaning prices will continue to climb.
“This de facto carbon tax will translate into electricity bills spiking by double digits, ballooning fuel costs and price increases on just about everything we use daily,” Yaw said. “Thousands of jobs will disappear. And zero carbon emissions will be removed from the atmosphere. Taxpayers deserve to know the true cost of Wolf administration’s out-of-touch policies.”
The senators’ letter to the IFO can be viewed in full here.