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In a huge win for taxpayers and all ratepayers, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania strongly rejected the former Governor’s attempt to force the state into the carbon tax scheme known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

The northeast’s cap-and-trade program adds costs for businesses, consumers, and funnels that money through an out-of-state bureaucratic apparatus that spends the money on projects and non-profits of their choosing.

Pennsylvania has held out of joining RGGI for over a decade, in the process growing its natural gas industry and disproving the need for a scheme like RGGI to reduce carbon emissions. Pennsylvania’s emissions have gone down as much or more as its neighbors who joined the initiative. Further, Pennsylvania natural gas provides energy for states like New York, enabling them to keep the lights on despite failing, radical energy policies.

The state produces 20 percent of the natural gas in the United States, and Pennsylvania’s carbon emissions have gone down by 30 percent as natural gas use has grown in recent years.

Governor Wolf usurped the authority of the state legislature, issuing an executive order that ordered the state into RGGI. This cynical maneuver was challenged in court, leading to today’s court decision.

The court ruled that the legislature must approve joining RGGI because only the legislature can levy taxes.

Judge Wojcik stated, “Stated simply, to pass constitutional muster, the Commonwealth’s participation in RGGI may only be achieved through legislation duly enacted by the Pennsylvania General Assembly …” 

There is a possibility current Governor Josh Shapiro could decide to appeal the decision to have the state supreme court weigh in. The best outcome for Pennsylvania families and businesses under threat of the RGGI carbon tax is for the governor to decline to appeal.

Not only is the executive order to force the state into RGGI unconstitutional, it is a massive new tax on all Pennsylvanians, and wholly unnecessary to reduce carbon emissions – as the state has already proven.