Thursday, August 20, 2020

Agenda Added - House Environmental Committee To Hold Aug. 24 Hearing On Carbon Pollution Reduction Program For Power Plants

The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing August 24 on DEP’s proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Program for Power Plants compatible with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
The tentative agenda includes these witnesses--
-- Caleb Stewart Rossiter, PhD, CO2 Coalition
-- Roger Caiazza, Retired Utility CompanyMeteorologist
-- Walter Schroth, Schroth Industries, Inc., Member DEP Small Business Compliance Advisory Committee
-- Blair Zimmerman (D) Greene County Commissioner
-- Vince Brisini, Olympus Power, LLC [frequent testifier on this topic before this and other committees]
The Committee has held multiple informational meetings and hearings on climate change and the Carbon Pollution Reduction Program over the last year.  The most recent hearings were  on July 21 and on February 5 with witnesses opposed to the proposal.
On June 9, Republicans on the Committee reported out House Bill 2025 (Struzzi-R- Indiana) which would take away DEP’s authority to enact any program to reduce carbon pollution emissions from power plants or other sources [Read more here] and passed by the House July 8 without a veto-proof margin.  Read more here
Only Democratic Rep. Pam Snyder (D-Greene) voted with the Republicans for the bill.
That was one indication of how the members who run the Committee feel about this issue.
The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee will hold a hearing on the same issue on August 25.  Read more here.
The August 24 hearing will be held in Room 140 Main Capitol starting at 10:00 a.m.  Click Here to watch online.
Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) serves as Majority Chair of the House Environmental Committee and can be contacted by calling 717-783-1707 or sending email to: Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware) serves as Minority Chair and can be contacted by calling 717-787-7647 or sending email to:
On October 3, Gov. Wolf issued an executive order directing DEP, under its existing statutory authority, to prepare a proposed regulation establishing a Carbon Pollution Reduction Program for power plants compatible with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
That announcement kicked off a public discussion of setting up a program in the Senate and House, with DEP advisory committees and with the public generally.
There have been multiple hearings and information meetings in the Senate and House already on DEP’s proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Program, plus individual discussions with legislators on the issue, starting last October before DEP even had a formal proposal.
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.
No legislation was introduced by Republicans to address how the proceeds from a Carbon Pollution Reduction Program would be used to support communities and workers affected by the transition happening now to a cleaner energy economy.
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.
Three DEP advisory committees considered DEP’s proposal-- two voted against forwarding the proposal to the Environmental Quality Board for consideration and the third ended in a tie vote.
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.
Gov.  Wolf declined to withdraw the executive order and urged Republicans to help develop a plan that will benefit all Pennsylvanians.  Read more here.
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 30, Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, Jr. (D-Allegheny) introduced Senate Bill 15 which, consistent with existing statutory authority, provides for the adoption of a “Cap and Invest” program to reduce carbon pollution from power plants and for the use of proceeds from the program to protect communities and workers already adversely affected by the changing energy economy, provide low-income assistance with energy bills and promotes clean energy and energy efficiency. Read more here.
On August 25, the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee is also scheduled to have a hearing on the proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction regulations covering power plants.  Read more here.
DEP is due to present its proposed regulation establishing the Carbon Pollution Reduction Program to the EQB on September 15 for consideration which will kick off another round of public comment, comment by the Senate and House and the Independent Regulatory Review Commission. Read more here.
Visit DEP’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative webpage to learn more about the proposal.
Related Articles This Week:
[Posted: August 21, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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