Senate moves new bill to keep Pa. out of RGGI without General Assembly’s OK

Written by on April 28, 2021

Senate moves new bill to keep Pa. out of RGGI without General Assembly’s OK

By Rachel McDevitt / StateImpact Pennsylvania

April 28, 2021

Photo | Hayden Mitman / WLVR

Along party lines, the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee passed Senate Bill 119 which requires legislative approval of a program that puts a price on carbon, like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Listen to the story.

Gov. Tom Wolf is trying to join the RGGI, or Reggie,” through a regulation. He vetoed a similar bill last year.

State Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-Lehigh) voted no on the bill, but said she didn’t think executive action is the right course for the program.

“If Pennsylvania should join RGGI, it should be a commitment that cannot be undone by the actions of another governor,” Boscola says.  

State Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, Susquehanna, and Union) called joining a superficial, feel-good effort that will have little impact on global emissions.

“We’re hurting ourselves, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot. Why? Just because we’re not looking at the big picture,” Yaw says.  

Yaw was among the GOP lawmakers who supported Donald Trump’s 2020 election-fraud lie by signing a letter urging members of Congress to delay certifying Pennsylvania’s electoral votes going to Joe Biden.

RGGI supporters say it’s an important way for the state to address climate change. Opponents say it will kill jobs in coal communities.

But Pa. Sen. Carolyn Comitta (D-Chester) says those jobs are already disappearing.

“Meanwhile, we’re not doing anything yet to help transition those jobs to clean energy,” Comitta says.

Wolf has proposed using some of the revenue from RGGI to help affected areas and adds that he will veto Senate Bill 119  if it reaches him.

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