Senate Republicans Move To Stop RGGI By Blocking Governor’s Appointments To PUC

The fight over the Wolf Administration’s plan to have Pennsylvania join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative was taken to a new level this week.

In a letter to the Governor, the Senate Republicans announced they were refusing to confirm his nominees to the Public Utility Commission due to his pursuing the RGGI plan without legislative approval.

The state Senate and House passed a bill last year blocking DEP’s RGGI regulation, but failed to garner enough votes to override the Governor’s veto.

PPA has been monitoring the RGGI process. One concern is how the $300 million that the state is estimated to receive from the cap and trade program on electric power generation fuels will be spent.

Some states have proposed using their RGGI money for consumer rebates for conversion of fossil fuel home heating systems to electric heat pumps.

It is currently unclear what the plan is for spending the money in Pennsylvania.

Another PPA concern is the process being used to adopt RGGI. The legislative bill referenced above would also have blocked the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI) from being implemented without legislative approval.

PPA successfully worked to convince the Governor to not join TCI last December, but the Administration has left the door open to join it on the future.

In the case of RGGI, the Governor has taken the position the current state’s Air Pollution Control Act allows him to implement it without legislative approval-and that he is permitted to do so through a regulation adopted by DEP.

The talk in the Capitol is that the Senate Republican action is a prelude to court cases challenging the RGGI implementation, if the current DEP regulatory process continues.

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