RGGI is the Optimal Path for Pennsylvania to Cut Climate Pollution, Protect Consumers and Win Jobs in the New Clean Economy

Statement of EDF Executive Director Amanda Leland

November 1, 2023
Elaine Labalme, (412) 996-4112, elabalme@edf.org

WASHINGTON, DC, November 1, 2023 – Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is deeply disappointed with the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court’s decision today to strike down the state’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) regulation. EDF has moved to intervene in the case and is reviewing the decision now. RGGI is a long-proven, flexible cap-and-invest program to reduce power plant air pollution. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has clear authority to limit carbon pollution from the power sector. If Pennsylvania were currently participating, RGGI would have already started cutting power plant emissions and would have provided support for programs that can clean the air to protect Pennsylvanians from pollution.

“Earlier this year, the Governor’s RGGI Working Group concluded its convenings and critically found that a program to limit pollution and invest in Pennsylvania’s future is the ‘optimal’ approach for the state and that cutting air and climate pollution from power plants was both inevitable and necessary.

“Governor Shapiro has a strong record of leading on climate and energy issues, putting Pennsylvanians’ well-being above politics, and should continue that legacy by appealing this erroneous decision as soon as practicable. We agree with the Governor that the state’s Environmental Rights Amendment, which enshrines the right to clean air and pure water for all Pennsylvanians, is a guiding principle we should all follow and that is consistent with what RGGI can provide.”


  • The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is a proven program in several Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states that has cut climate pollution from power plants in half since it began over a decade ago. The program works by placing an enforceable, declining cap on the amount power plants are allowed to emit.
  • In 2019, Governor Tom Wolf signed an executive order directing the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to start the process of joining RGGI. During the public comment period process, Pennsylvania’s DEP received on the order of 40,000 individual comments in support of moving forward with the RGGI rule.
  • Earlier this year, Governor Shapiro convened a Working Group of organized labor, energy industry representatives, environmental protection stakeholders, and consumer advocates together to discuss RGGI.
  • The Group identified several areas of consensus, including that a “cap-and-invest” carbon regulation for the power sector that generates revenue to support the Commonwealth’s energy transition would be the optimal approach for Pennsylvania to protect and create energy jobs, take real action to address climate change, and ensure reliable, affordable power for consumers in the long-term.

# # #

One of the world’s leading international nonprofit organizations, Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org) creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. To do so, EDF links science, economics, law, and innovative private-sector partnerships. With more than 3 million members and offices in the United States, China, Mexico, Indonesia and the European Union, EDF’s scientists, economists, attorneys and policy experts are working in 28 countries to turn our solutions into action. Connect with us on Twitter @EnvDefenseFund