If you get most of your news from national news sources, you have probably heard about the “Green New Deal.” At its heart, the Green New Deal seeks to dismantle our current fossil-fuel-based economy and replace it with one that is supposedly more environmentally friendly. The Green New Deal would fundamentally change every aspect of our lives, but Governor Wolf is considering a policy that would have a similar impact on the Commonwealth.
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI (usually pronounced Reggie), is something CAP has posted about before. In October of 2019, we shared a blog from the author and climate contrarian Greg Wrightstone. As he noted then:
“On October 3rd , Wolf signed an executive order that began the process of adding Pennsylvania to a group of northeastern states that constitute what has been called the “first mandatory market-based program in the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” It is now up to the Department of Environmental Protection to draft the proposed regulation and then go through possibly two years of a legislative comment period…The overall goal of the plan is to make electricity derived from fossil fuels more expensive and, hence, renewable energy more competitive…nearly half-billion dollars in costs would not be absorbed by the power generators but would be passed on to consumers in the form of increased energy costs. Not only would this make Pennsylvania a more expensive place to live, it would render the state less competitive for energy intensive businesses compared to neighboring Ohio and West Virginia and other locales that have no plans for artificially inflating electricity costs.” (Emphasis added)
If you are interested, Mr. Wrightstone’s entire blog post is worth reading.
Governor Wolf and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) have pushed forward to join RGGI. Their insistence comes despite a pandemic and the economic destruction his policies resulted in since 2019. Last year, the Governor vetoed bipartisan legislation that would have barred him from entering into RGGI without legislative approval.
In February of 2021, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) requested that the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) delay joining RGGI for a year. At this point, there is no indication that the EQB will honor that request. (The EQB is a twenty-member independent board that adopts all of the DEP’s regulations.)
The House and Senate are again considering legislation to prevent the Governor from unilaterally entering RGGI. Sponsors of the bill believe that they might garner enough votes to pass the bill with veto-proof majorities. The additional interest in stopping RGGI comes from opposition to the measure from organized labor.
We urge you to email your House and Senate members and encourage them to support the legislation. You can do that by clicking below and filling in your information.
You can also learn more about RGGI and what it would mean for the Commonwealth by watching the following conversation CAP CEO Leo Knepper had with Senator Joe Pittman (R-41) on the subject.