HARRISBURG – State Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23) recently announced the introduction of legislation to repeal the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) carbon tax enacted through executive order by the Wolf Administration in 2019. RGGI, a multi-state compact, would increase electricity rates for consumers, cut energy and manufacturing jobs and lead to the closure of Pennsylvania power plants.
In a memo circulated to Senate members, Yaw said Senate Bill 1058 will abrogate a CO2 Budget Trading Program regulation promulgated by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Environmental Quality Board (EQB), despite bipartisan objection from the General Assembly.
“For four years, Pennsylvania taxpayers have footed the bill for this unconstitutional, unilateral decision,” Sen. Yaw said. “RGGI is wrong for Pennsylvania, and it is time to repeal this regulation and focus on putting forth commonsense, environmentally responsible energy policy that recognizes and champions Pennsylvania as an energy producer.”
Last year, Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court ruled that Pennsylvania’s entrance into RGGI may only be achieved through legislation duly enacted by the General Assembly, not merely through rulemaking promulgated by DEP and EQB. This ruling has been appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court by Gov. Shapiro, and that appeal remains pending.
Yaw said this legislation comes on the heels of a series of hearings with members of the Ohio General Assembly to discuss PJM and reliability of the mid-Atlantic power grid it manages. PJM projects that 20% of its existing capacity will retire between now and 2030, leaving them without sufficient power to meet the demands of consumers.
Yaw added that thermal generation retirements, like the recently announced Brandon Shores power plant closure in Maryland, coupled with the threat of RGGI, only further compromise the integrity of the electric grid. Recently, one Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner (FERC) said the shutdown could cause a “potentially catastrophic” scenario. However, a recent FERC order shows that concerns about the outlook of the region’s power production are being heard.
“Not only would RGGI leave thousands struggling to pay their utility bills during a time of record inflation, but it would also have a detrimental impact on the reliability of our region’s already strained electric grid,” Sen. Yaw said. “There is more work to be done, but this legislation is an important component to ensuring energy reliability, sustainability, and affordability for Pennsylvania families and businesses.”
For more state-related news and information, constituents can visit Senator Yaw’s website at www.SenatorGeneYaw.com or follow him on Facebook and Twitter @SenatorGeneYaw.