Governor Wolf's Cap-and-Trade Coup Faces Resistance

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Posted by Josie Kavanagh on Wednesday, June 24th, 2020, 5:53 PM PERMALINK

Pennsylvania lawmakers are working in a bipartisan fashion to stop Democratic Governor Tom Wolf from forcing the state to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which is a multistate cap-and-trade agreement that claims to limit carbon dioxide emissions.

Pennsylvania has been a major thorn in the side of RGGI, because the state never joined, and its emissions are down as much as any state that did join RGGI.

Cap-and-trade would be harmful to the state’s economy, and will allow the government to set limits on power plant emissions. This is supposed to encourage companies to cut their pollution, but not many are convinced it actually helps.

According to a 2018 report by David Stevenson from the Caesar Rodney Institute, it is not clear whether states who have joined the RGGI cap-and-trade system have seen any reduction in carbon dioxide emissions overall, or any greater than the national trend. Only 10 states have committed to the RGGI, and Pennsylvania and Virginia are likely to be next, unless Pennsylvania’s legislature can stop it.

Democratic State Representative Pam Snyder and Republican State Representative Jim Struzzi have both co-sponsored and are advocating for the passage of House Bill 2025, which prevents Governor Wolf from overstepping his authority by blocking him from entering the RGGI agreement without consulting the legislature.

Lawmakers are concerned on both constitutional grounds and on economic grounds.

The Governor has seemed to move forward unilaterally with signing Pennsylvania up for the climate agreement, with little regard for the region’s coal and energy industries, as well as the jobs it holds for hard-working families.

Struzzi claims that joining the RGGI has not been proven to actually help the environment, but that it has been proven to shut down businesses and put people out of work. It is also a possibility that businesses and plants will just move to other states that will not enforce a cap on emissions.

State Senator Joe Pittman, a Republican has sponsored a companion bill to HB 2025, Senate Bill 950.

HB 2025 has already been passed through the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee. The legislation is critical to preventing Governor Wolf from killing jobs, and inflicting endless damage on Pennsylvania’s economy, all for no quantifiable environmental benefit.

Photo Credit: Kyle Yunker

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