O’Neal Proposes Tax Credit to Offset RGGI Compliance Costs in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania state Rep. Timothy O’Neal (R-Washington) has indicated he’s drafting legislation to bestow tax credits on power plants to cover costs of complying with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

Pennsylvania is among eleven northeastern and mid-Atlantic states to have joined RGGI, a compact to levy de facto taxes on electricity-generation facilities for emitting greenhouse gases — chiefly carbon dioxide and methane — which are associated with global warming. Because Keystone State legislators have balked at the program, Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced in 2019 that he would enter the state into it using his own regulatory authority. Earlier this month, Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled Commonwealth Court blocked the state’s entry into RGGI, insisting that Wolf breached the limits on his executive power, but the ruling is not ironclad as the Democrat-run state Supreme Court could reverse it.

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Commonwealth Court Blocks Pennsylvania’s Entry into Carbon Taxation Initiative

Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court this week blocked the state’s entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), an 11-state compact requiring de facto taxation of power plants’ carbon emissions.

Gov. Tom Wolf (D) tried to effect Pennsylvania’s participation in the initiative by issuing an executive order in 2019, thus neglecting to seek approval of the Republican-led General Assembly. The court’s new opinion comes one day after the state Senate failed to override the governor’s veto of legislation letting the General Assembly end the state’s membership in the compact. Legislative leaders have argued that the governor’s unilateral action violated the state Constitution and were heartened upon hearing of the judges’ decision.

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Pennsylvania Senate Falls Short of Two-Thirds Needed to Kill Greenhouse Gas Initiative

White smoke emitting from a couple of buildings

Most state senators voted to end Pennsylvania’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) on Monday but fell short of the two-thirds needed to succeed.

In 2019, Gov. Tom Wolf (D) initiated Pennsylvania’s entry into the 11-state compact to reduce carbon emissions by charging power plants for their discharge in hope of counteracting global warming. Unlike most of the other northeastern and mid-Atlantic states that participate in RGGI, the Keystone State’s governor could not get sufficient backing from state legislators for Pennsylvania’s membership and thus acted via executive order. Republicans and some Democrats have argued Wolf exceeded his constitutional authority in rebuffing the legislature.

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State Senator Yaw Proposes Legal Framework for Carbon Capture in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania state Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Williamsport) indicated Wednesday he will soon introduce legislation to create a regulatory framework for “carbon capture” in the commonwealth.

Carbon capture is the process of catching carbon-dioxide discharge from fossil-fuel-fired power plants and manufacturing facilities for either reuse or storage so that the emissions don’t make it into the atmosphere and exacerbate global warming.

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Industry and Unions Warn Pennsylvania Senate RGGI Will Kill Jobs, Hurt Consumers

Blue Collar Worker

In a rare moment of concord between industry and unions, representatives of both interests exhorted Pennsylvania state Senators on Tuesday to resist Pennsylvania’s entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Eleven states in the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions have joined the pact to impose prices on carbon emissions for power plants. Unlike most member states, however, Pennsylvania entered into the agreement without legislative approval though an executive order by Gov. Tom Wolf (D) in 2019. The emissions pricing has not yet gone into effect; the governor wants to implement it in the next fiscal year.

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Committee Votes to End Pipeline Bans, Check Pennsylvania Governor’s Power on Carbon Tax

A bipartisan majority of a Pennsylvania House of Representatives panel Monday passed several measures to increase fossil-fuel development in and exportation from the Keystone State.

One resolution, sponsored by state Rep. Stan Saylor (R-Red Lion) would call upon Govs. Kathy Hochul (D-NY) and Phil Murphy (D-NJ) to terminate their states’ bans on the building of new conduits that could carry natural gas extracted in Pennsylvania. Other legislation offered by state Sen. Joe Pittman (R-Indiana) would ensure that legislators must approve Pennsylvania’s entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a multi-state pact to which Gov. Tom Wolf (D) has committed the state by executive order. Implementation of RGGI entails effectively imposing a tax on carbon emissions.

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Pennsylvania Budget Secretary Defends Governor’s Budget That Lawmakers Say Overspends

Gregory Thall

Pennsylvania’s House Appropriations Committee ended hearings on next fiscal year’s budget on Thursday, with the governor’s budget chief defending a plan that many lawmakers fear significantly overspends.

Governor Tom Wolf (D) has asked the Republican-controlled General Assembly to consider a Fiscal Year 2022-23 budget that spends $43.7 billion, an increase of 16.6 percent over current expenditures. His proposal assumes the state will enjoy a revenue intake that surpasses that predicted by the nonpartisan Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) by $762 million.

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Pennsylvania Lawmakers Opposing Greenhouse Gas Initiative Offer Alternative Policy

Lawmakers who have attempted to stop Pennsylvania’s entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) are proposing alternative measures to mitigate carbon emissions in the Keystone State.

Representative Jim Struzzi has amended the anti-RGGI legislation he introduced last year to authorize spending $250 million from Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 Response Restricted Account on carbon-dioxide-reduction technologies and related items. Funded projects would include methane abatement, hydrogen-based infrastructure and stormwater mitigation as well as assistance to communities weathering electric-generation plant closures.

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