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Environmental Resources & Energy Committee Meeting Sept. 14 to Help Determine Fate of RGGI in PA

Good news: Earlier this month, Pennsylvania’s Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) voted 3-2 to approve the Environmental Quality Board-proposed Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

RGGI is a cap-and-trade program for gas emissions from large electric generating units. Eleven states in the northeastern United States already participate in the program.  

Need a little more background info? No worries – you can read all about RGGI on our blog and check out the formal comments we submitted on the regulation that would make Pennsylvania the 12th state to participate in the program.

But now for the not-so-great news: That IRRC approval moved the proposed regulation to the standing Environmental Resources and Energy Committees of the Pennsylvania House and Senate. As expected, the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee promptly approved a concurrent resolution that would kill the regulation.  

According to the concurrent resolution:

  • The full House of Representatives has the longer of 30 days or 10 legislative days to approve the resolution. 
  • Once approved by the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, the concurrent resolution moves to the Senate’s Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.
  • That Committee also has the longer of 30 days or 10 legislative days to approve it.  

The Senate Committee will consider the concurrent resolution on Tuesday, September 14. Here’s what you need to know about the process:

  • If the Senate Committee approves the concurrent resolution, it moves to the Governor.
  • The Governor may veto the concurrent resolution, in which case the House and Senate can vote to override the veto, killing the regulation. 
  • If the Governor does not act on the concurrent resolution – or if the House and Senate fail to override the Governor’s veto – the regulation becomes effective.

“Opposition to the RGGI regulation is generally based on the notions that the regulation will drive up electricity prices in Pennsylvania; that the regulation imposes a tax, which only the General Assembly (not the EQB or the Governor) has the power to levy; and that the EQB lacks the statutory authority to adopt the regulation under Pennsylvania’s Air Pollution Control Act,” GASP senior attorney John Baillie explained. “This month should prove to be an interesting one.  We will keep you posted on new developments as they occur.”

Editor’s Note: The hearing kicks off at 11 a.m. Sept. 14. You can watch the live stream here.

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