(HARRISBURG, Pa. – June 14, 2021) Today, Pennsylvania State Senator Carolyn Comitta and Representative Dianne Herrin announced Senate Bill (S.B.) 15, and House Bill (H.B.) 1565, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Investments Act, an effort that will invest millions in proceeds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) back into Pennsylvania communities to create jobs, protect workers, reduce consumer bills and address pollution in overburdened communities. The bill includes funding for an Environmental Justice Communities Trust Fund and an Energy Communities Trust Fund, ensuring proceeds of RGGI go to high priority areas of need.
“Sen. Comitta and Rep. Herrin are showing how to lead on climate by addressing the issue head-on and in doing so are listening to the majority of Pennsylvanians who want action. S.B.15 and H.B. 1565 will help ensure meaningful cuts to Pennsylvania’s carbon emissions as we work to meet the climate goals laid out by Gov. Wolf and President Biden. The time for deflection and delay is long past – these bills make clear that we need to act on climate and make investments in Pennsylvania communities now. These investments can help lift up communities impacted by pollution, as well as the workers and communities impacted by the energy transition that is well underway. As the governor reiterated this morning, linking to RGGI will support job creation and improve public health as Pennsylvania charts a course in the new energy economy that is urgently needed as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The bills represent a proactive approach to addressing the state’s carbon pollution problem and aligns with the over 70% of Pennsylvanians in recent polling who want a reduction in carbon emissions from the state’s power sector, the fourth dirtiest in the nation. The RGGI program has been under active consideration and discussion in Pennsylvania for several years, with a widely-attended public hearing in December and with multiple advisory committees voting in recent weeks in favor of advancing a final rule to link the state with RGGI.
RGGI is a cap-and-invest program with quarterly auctions of carbon allowances purchased by polluters that generate proceeds for participating states. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Investments Act leverages these proceeds through investments in clean energy and energy efficiency and helps provide fairness to workers and communities impacted by the energy transition and air pollution. It is estimated that RGGI can bring over $500 million in proceeds to Pennsylvania in the first year alone. These investments can accelerate job creation and cement the state’s role as a leader in the transforming energy economy, while growing the state’s role as a net energy exporter.
- Mandy Warner, Director of Climate and Clean Air Policy, Environmental Defense Fund
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