Environmental Quality Board Vote Gives Pennsylvanians the Opportunity to Have Their Say on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

Statement from Mandy Warner, Director of Climate and Clean Air Policy, Environmental Defense Fund

September 15, 2020
Elaine Labalme, (412) 996-4112, elaine.labalme@gmail.com
Chandler Green, (803) 981-2211, chgreen@edf.org

(HARRISBURG, Pa. – September 15, 2020) Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Environmental Quality Board (EQB) voted affirmatively to advance a rulemaking that will enable the state to reduce carbon emissions from the power sector by linking to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

“We thank the Environmental Quality Board for listening to the majority of Pennsylvanians demanding a cleaner and healthier future for their families and communities. Gov. Wolf is making that future possible by launching a cost-effective and flexible program like RGGI that can clean up our air while growing a strong, clean economy in Pennsylvania. We look forward to a robust public comment period so that Pennsylvanians themselves, from across the state, can finally and fully weigh in on the benefits of the rule.”

Pennsylvania is the third largest greenhouse gas polluting state and is home to the fifth dirtiest power sector in the nation. Linking to a program such as RGGI is critical to achieving the substantial reductions in greenhouse gas pollution that are the cornerstone of Gov. Tom Wolf’s climate strategy.

A 2019 poll found that nearly 80% of Pennsylvanians say it’s time to zero out carbon pollution from power plants. A flexible, market-based framework such as RGGI will facilitate critical pollution reductions as it catalyzes investment in economic development, infrastructure, renewable energy and energy efficiency where consumers could save money on electric bills.

In looking to the future, RGGI makes it possible to rebuild better with investment in clean energy, efficiency, and other activities that can reduce pollution, including in the most burdened communities. With the legislature’s partnership, RGGI also offers additional opportunities to make investments that support workers and communities impacted by fossil fuel plant closures. A recent analysis by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) indicates that participation in RGGI will result in a net increase of over 27,000 jobs and add $1.9 billion to the Gross State Product.

  • Mandy Warner, Director of Climate and Clean Air Policy, Environmental Defense Fund

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