DEP Announces Equity Principles To Guide Investment Of RGGI Funds

On March 10, the Department of Environmental Protection announced a set of guiding equity principles to help inform the public on the implementation of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and investments of the program’s proceeds.   Read more here.

DEP has also partnered with the Delta Institute to engage with impacted communities and workers to identify ways to ensure a just and equitable transition for all Pennsylvania residents.

The RGGI Equity Principles include:

— Inclusively gathering and considering input from the public, especially environmental justice communities, related to decisions made under RGGI;

— Protecting public health and welfare, mitigating any adverse impacts on human health, especially in environmental justice communities, and seeking to ensure environmental and structural racism are not replicated in the engagement process; and

— Working equitably and with intentional consideration to distribute environmental and economic benefits of the proceeds of allowance auctions.

            Energy Communities Trust Fund

            In his February 3, budget address, Gov. Wolf proposed an Energy Communities Trust Fund as a mechanism for collecting and investing the expected $300 million to be generated by the Administration’s Regional Greenhouse Gas initiative.  Read more here.

            He proposed spending the funds in several broad categories–

— Funds would also be dedicated to make immediate and targeted investments in environmental justice communities for  environmental clean up, water and air quality improvement, recreation and general economic development projects;.

— New investment in greenhouse gas abatement, energy efficiency and clean and renewable energy programs that help to reduce air pollution;

— Funding for key advancements like new research and projects to develop Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage, or much needed abandoned oil and gas well plugging would become available.

— Investments in clean and renewable energy, including but not limited to biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar and wind will help to drive in-state investment and job creation while generating electricity.

— Helping the industrial and commercial sectors in Pennsylvania to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions through investments such as process electrification, fuel switching, combined heat and power, and energy efficiency projects.

            Finalize 3rd Quarter

            DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell told the Senate Appropriations Committee last week he expects to present a final version of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative regulation to the Environmental Quality Board for action in the third quarter of this year.

Overview Of Senate Bill 275

Legislation has been proposed that would prohibit municipalities from adopting ordinances that would restrict specific energy sources within their jurisdictions.

Senator Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming) and Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee introduced Senate Bill 275 to address this issue.

PPA consulted with Senator Yaw’s staff to confirm that the bill covers heating oil and propane.

In recent years, there have been reports of local governments in some areas of the US banning fossil fuels (ex: Brookline, MA) within their jurisdiction. Senator Yaw’s bill would reinforce the state’s preemption of this issue in Pennsylvania.

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