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Legislature Disapproves of Governor’s Plan to Enter Greenhouse Gas Initiative

In December, the PA House approved a concurrent resolution by a 130-70 vote that disapproves the Wolf administration’s pending regulation to enter the state into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-trade program for power plants in the mid-Atlantic and New England. In October, the Senate passed the same resolution by a 32-18 vote. Senator John Gordner and Representatives Kurt Masser and David Millard voted in favor of the resolution.

“Joining RGGI would do great harm and bring no benefit,” said Rep. Millard and his weekly newsletter. “RGGI was created as a means to cap CO2 emissions for power generation plants, but Pennsylvania is already outperforming most states currently enrolled in the initiative in reducing our emissions. Joining RGGI would significantly increase the operating costs for power plants, and those costs will be passed on to us as consumers at a time when we are facing the highest inflation rate in decades.”

The PA Chamber of Business & Industry supported the legislative efforts to disapprove the resolution, noting in its memo that concerns with respect to costs, leakage and impacts to manufacturing were not appropriately considered in the final rulemaking.

For the resolution to take effect and void the regulation, Gov. Wolf must either sign the resolution or let it lapse into law by taking no action, or the General Assembly must overcome his veto with a two-thirds vote in both chambers.

Gov. Wolf is expected to veto the resolution, which will open a window of ten legislative days in each chamber to attempt to override his veto. If the General Assembly cannot muster enough votes in both chambers, the regulation will be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, with compliance obligations beginning the start of the next quarter. Once the rule takes effect, DEP is expected to offer a six-month window to affected facilities to modify their operating permits.

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