Sunday, July 26, 2020

DEP Climate Consultant Did Not Authorize The Use Of Its Name On A Letter Supporting DEP’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Proposal

In a statement on July 26, ICF International, Inc., a consultant used by DEP to evaluate the impact of its proposal to reduce carbon pollution from power plants compatible with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, said it had no knowledge of and did not give permission for its name to be used in a letter supporting the proposal.

“Had we been asked to participate, we would have declined as ICF is a non-partisan, non-political company,” ICF said.

The full statement said, “ICF had no knowledge of the July 9, 2020 letter sent to the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board urging members to move forward on a proposed carbon trading budget program. 

“Our company name and logo were used in the letter without our prior permission or explicit knowledge. 

“Had we been asked to participate, we would have declined as ICF is a non-partisan, non-political company. 

“We work with a wide range of industry, government, and nonprofit clients and as a matter of policy, we generally do not advocate for or against specific political issues and abstain from participating in letter writing, lobbying efforts or similar activities. 

“We provide our clients with the facts, data and analysis they need to support their unique missions. This policy is acknowledged and reflected in the vendor selection process with our clients.”

The ICF statement was in reaction to a July 24 letter sent by Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming), Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, sent a letter to DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell questioning the impartiality of ICF International, Inc., a Fairfax, Virginia-based global consulting and technology services company employed by DEP to study Pennsylvania’s potential participation in a Carbon Pollution Reduction Program covering power plant emissions compatible with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

Sen. Yaw referenced the July 9, 2020 letter circulated to members of the state’s Environmental Quality Board (EQB) by businesses supporting DEP’s proposed RGGI regulations.  (A copy was included in Sen. Yaw's letter.) 

He noted that a signatory to that support letter was ICF, the company which DEP has hired to do the modeling to provide an evaluation of the RGGI proposal.

“I am not going to waste either of our time by detailing why this scenario raises serious ethical issues as well as questions of transparency,” Sen. Yaw said in the letter to Secretary McDonnell.  “In short, ICF has shown that it is biased and that its modeling work will always be subject to question.”

Click Here for a copy of Sen. Yaw’s letter.

ICF said it would be in touch with Sen. Yaw on this issue and make him aware of their statement.

In a Tweet responding to the ICF statement, Sen. Yaw said, "If ICF’s name was included without their permission, how many other names were included without permission?  This whole scenario calls into question the validity of the [July 9] letter in any respect."

Over the past several months, Sen. Yaw and other Pennsylvania legislators have expressed concerns with the RGGI plan that joins Pennsylvania with states that import their electricity and have banned new pipelines thus allowing Pennsylvania natural gas to flow to large markets like New York City and Boston.

Sen. Yaw said the Senate Environmental Committee will be holding further hearings on RGGI in the coming weeks.


There have been multiple hearings and information meetings in the Senate and House already on DEP’s proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Program covering power plants, plus individual discussions with legislators on the issue, starting last October before DEP had a formal proposal.

The Senate Environmental Committee held its first briefing on the RGGI concept with DEP on October 22, just after Gov. Wolf’s October 3 announcement of his executive order directing DEP to prepare a proposed regulation establishing a Carbon Pollution Reduction Program for power plants.

On November 19, Senate and House Republicans announced legislation to take away DEP’s authority to adopt any greenhouse gas reduction program like RGGI or the Regional Transportation Climate Initiative addressing carbon emission reductions from vehicle fuels.

On January 29 the Senate Environmental and Transportation Committees held a hearing with DEP and PennDOT on the impact of the proposed Regional Transportation Climate Initiative on Pennsylvania, which discussed the RGGI concept in part. 

On January 30 DEP released draft regulations establishing a cap-and-invest Carbon Pollution Reduction Program capable with RGGI for discussion with stakeholders, advisory committees and the public and during individual meetings with legislators and stakeholders.

On February 3, DEP Secretary McDonnell appeared before the Joint Senate/House Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee to talk about the potential impact of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Program on coal waste fired power plants.

On March 4, at the Senate hearing on DEP’s budget request, the Carbon Pollution Reduction Program was a topic discussed at length with DEP Secretary McDonnell and members of the Appropriations and Environmental Committees.

On March 13, Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Plant owner Energy Harbor [FirstEnergy] announces it will keep the plant open as long as Gov. Wolf’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Program is adopted.  

Senate Environmental Committee hearings on April 8 and 14 on the proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Program were postponed by the Senate due to COVID-19 concerns.

On April 21, 18 Senate Republicans wrote to Gov. Wolf asking him to withdraw his executive order requiring DEP to develop a Carbon Pollution Reduction Program.  On May 5, House Republican members did a similar letter.

On May 7, after several meetings on the issue, DEP’s Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee, voted 9 to 9 with one abstention, on a motion recommending DEP move ahead with its Carbon Pollution Reduction Proposal.

On May 19, DEP’s Citizens Advisory Council voted 9 to 4 against recommending DEP move ahead with the proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Proposal.

On May 21, the Senate Environmental Committee had scheduled a meeting to consider Senate Resolution 325 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) calling on DEP to cease all work on a Carbon Pollution Reduction Program for power plants, but it was postponed noting it would likely be rescheduled.

On May 22, Sen. Yaw issued a statement critical of New York state for rejecting a pipeline project that would have carried Pennsylvania natural gas to that state, saying, “At the same time as our neighboring states work to stop pipeline development, our own government pushes to join with these states by participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.  Under RGGI, those states stand to benefit from our power generation, while telling us how to produce that power.”

On June 9, House Republicans moved House Bill 2025 (Struzzi-R- Indiana) out of the Environmental Committee that would take away DEP’s authority to enact any carbon pollution reduction programs.

On June 23, the Senate Environmental Committee held a hearing on the Carbon Pollution Reduction Program with DEP and opponents of the plan, going over familiar arguments.

On July 3, House Republicans passed House Bill 2025 taking away DEP’s authority to enact carbon pollution reduction programs and moved the bill to the Senate.

On July 22, DEP’s Small Business Compliance Advisory Committee voted 4 to 3 against DEP moving ahead with its Carbon Pollution Reduction Program.

Related Articles:

-- Senate Virtual Hearing Covers Familiar Ground On Carbon Pollution Reduction Program For Power Plants; DEP Expects No Delay In Implementation With Extension

-- 18 Senate Republicans Ask Gov. Wolf To Withdrawn His Executive Order Asking DEP To Establish A Carbon Pollution Reduction Program For Power Plants

-- New PA Poll: 72% Of Pennsylvania Voters Say It's Important Their Electricity Comes From Energy Not Creating Carbon Emissions

-- New Poll Finds 79% Of Pennsylvania Voters Support Limits On Carbon Pollution From Power Plants

-- Republicans Out-Of-Touch With 79% Of Pennsylvanian On Climate Change

-- Op-Ed: My Fellow Conservatives Are Out Of Touch On The Environment - Fmr. Gov. Tom Ridge

Related Articles This Week:

-- Report: Senators Baker, Yaw, Scarnati Request To Withdraw From Lawsuit Challenging Delaware River Basin Commission Gas Drilling Prohibition

-- DEP Awards $2.1 Million In Grants For Cleaner Fuel Vehicle Projects To Improve Air Quality, Address Climate Change

-- First PA C-PACE Project: $1.5 Million For Energy & Water Efficiency In Mixed-Use Development In Philadelphia

-- SEEDS And Highlights Foundation Complete Installation Of Solar Energy Array In Wayne County

-- PA Energy Development Authority To Meet Aug. 4 On 2020 PEDA Energy Development Plan 

-- Delaware River Basin Commission Climate Change Committee Holds First Meeting August 4

[Posted: July 26, 2020]

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