Pennsylvania House Rejects Essential Climate and Public Health Policy That is Overwhelmingly Supported by Pennsylvanians
Statement from Mandy Warner, Director of Climate and Clean Air Policy, Environmental Defense Fund
(HARRISBURG, Pa. – July 8, 2020) Today, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted in favor of House Bill (H.B.) 2025, which seeks to block the state’s ability to place limits on harmful carbon dioxide emissions from industrial and other sources. Pennsylvania is the third largest greenhouse gas (GHG) polluting state and is home to the fifth dirtiest power sector in the nation. A declining limit on power sector carbon emissions is critical to achieving the climate goals laid out by Gov. Tom Wolf in his January 8, 2019 executive order.
Gov. Wolf is charting a course to link Pennsylvania to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) pursuant to the authority granted to him by the state legislature under the state Air Pollution Control Act (APCA). Previously, the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has acted under the APCA to regulate GHG emissions. A 2019 poll found that 79% of Pennsylvanians support a proposal to zero out carbon pollution from power plants, with Pennsylvanians overall preferring lawmakers who support strong action to combat climate change. The support for carbon limits is bipartisan and holds true across city, suburban and rural populations.
“At a time when Pennsylvanians need a solution to the public health and climate crises we face, the Pennsylvania House has chosen obstruction. H.B. 2025 offers no blueprint to clean our air, create the jobs of the future or tackle climate change – all at the expense of the health and economic opportunity of Pennsylvanians as a whole.
“In choosing to link to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), Gov. Wolf is offering a road map for Pennsylvania’s energy and climate future. RGGI will catalyze economic development through investments in infrastructure, renewable energy and energy efficiency that will prove especially meaningful to low-income communities where consumers could save money on electric bills. A just-released DEP analysis indicates that ‘participating in RGGI will lead to a net increase of more than 27,000 jobs and add $1.9 billion to the Gross State Product in Pennsylvania.’ Legislators have the opportunity to constructively engage on RGGI, a program which can be used to make smart investments to support workers and communities impacted by fossil fuel plant closures and Environmental Justice communities that have borne the devastating impacts of pollution for far too long.
“To the members of the Pennsylvania House, we respectfully ask: Where is your solution? It’s clear the residents of the commonwealth have waited long enough and strongly support leadership on climate change. We urge the Pennsylvania Senate to reject this obstructionist bill.”
- Mandy Warner, Director of Climate and Clean Air Policy, Environmental Defense Fund
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