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UPDATE: Commonwealth Court Blocks Publication of Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Regs, Then DEP Files Appeal with Supreme Court

GASP has been following the soap opera that has become Pennsylvania’s efforts to enter into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (otherwise known as RGGI).

Just so everyone is on the same page before we get too much further into this saga: RGGI is a cap-and-trade program that uses a two-pronged approach to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from certain electric generating units (known as EGUs) in participating states.  

The first prong reduces CO2 emissions by establishing a regional budget for such emissions from units that are subject to the program as well as a statewide budget for each of the participating states.  

Here’s how it works: Each participating state issues CO2 allowances (with each allowance representing one ton of budgeted CO2 emissions) and sells them through quarterly auctions. Electric generating units subject to the program must purchase a CO2 allowance for each ton of CO2 they will emit. Then, those CO2 allowances may be auctioned across state lines within the participating states.

You can get caught up with the legislative and procedural back and forth on our blog. But here’s the most recent crux of the issue:

As we told you back in February, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) had filed an action to compel the Legislative Reference Bureau to publish the regulations – the final step to implementing the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in Pennsylvania. 

That move prompted the state Commonwealth Court to issue a one-page, unsigned order last week that blocks the Legislative Reference Bureau from publishing the regulations. 

Then DEP took action,  appealing the Commonwealth Court’s decision to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. 

Presumably, the regulations will not take effect pending the Supreme Court’s resolution of this dispute. We’ll continue to keep you posted on new developments as they occur.

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