State Senator Gene Yaw of R-Loyalsock Township this week spoke out against Governor Tom Wolf’s mandate for the state to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
In a recent 3-2 vote, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission opened the door for the state to be part of the interstate initiative without legislative approval, according to Yaw, who chairs the Senate Committee on Regulatory Affairs. environmental resources and energy.
The decision, he said, means the state loses control over its energy production, economic development, energy security and environmental protection.
“Instead of engaging with the General Assembly, the Wolf administration, with the approval of the IRRC, will allow decisions on these important issues to be determined by states like New York, New Jersey and others who don’t care about the energy of Pennsylvania. To participate in RGGI is to ignore the positive environmental impacts taking place right here in Pennsylvania, including a dramatic reduction in carbon emissions over the past two decades ”, Yaw said. In addition, Pennsylvania will lose thousands of skilled, well-paying jobs and millions of dollars in its tax base for reported CO2 emission reductions of less than 1%.
Its committee approved a letter to the IRRC last month formally opposing the state’s membership in the RGGI.
On October 3, 2019, Wolf asked the Department of Environmental Protection to be part of the RGGI, a collaboration of 11 states in the northeast and central Atlantic, Yaw said. These states will set a cap on the total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from electricity generators in their states.
To comply, power plants must purchase credit or “allocation” for every ton of CO2 they emit, he explained.
Pennsylvania would be the only state in the pact with a substantial number of coal or natural gas power generation facilities and the only one to join the pact without legislative approval, he added.
Yaw noted that the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act serves as a vehicle to tackle climate change, an issue over which the Wolf administration has been reluctant to negotiate.
Various environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, PennEnvironment, Clean Air Council, and Pennsylvania Environmental Network, have spoken out against the bill passed by the state in 2004.
Yaw noted that the fight may not have ended.
In an email to the Sun-Gazette on Thursday, Yaw published the following: “Today at 11 am, the House ERE committee voted to advance a competing resolution disapproving of the RGGI rule, and on September 14, the Senate will also propose a competing resolution disapproving of the rule. Ultimately, one of the resolutions will be presented to the governor where he is sure to veto again, and then pressure is put on the legislature to garner the votes for yet another attempt to override the veto.