Pennsylvania Regulatory Adoption of RGGI Continues to Move Forward
On July 13, 2021 the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board approved the regulation that would result in the Commonwealth joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). This program would establish a cap-and-trade emissions requirement on fuels used for electric power generation within the state.
The plan is the centerpiece of the Wolf Administration’s climate change mitigation policy. It has been strongly opposed by coal interests and labor unions representing workers involved in mining and employed by power plants.
Both the House and Senate in the last legislative session voted to block this proposal-but the votes were short of the number needed to override the veto of the Governor. As part of the regulatory review process, the standing committees in the House and Senate are positioning votes to present a concurrent resolution to the full legislative bodies to block the regulation. This vote would also need to be large enough to override a veto.
It is expected that legal action will be instituted by the opponents, focused on (among other issues) whether the Governor has the authority to enter this multistate compact without legislative approval.
The cap-and-trade auction process established under the regulation would provide the state an expected $300 million dollars to be used for climate change programs.
The goal of the Administration is to join RGGI by January 21,2022. PPA is closely monitoring the process of the regulation, with a particular concern as to what programs will be funded from the auction proceeds. Some Northeast states have used their monies for such things as rebates to homeowners for converting to electric heat pumps.