Saturday, August 22, 2020

Agenda Added - Senate Environmental Committee Holds Aug. 25 Hearing On Carbon Pollution Reduction Program For Power Plants

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee will hold a hearing August 25 on DEP’s proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Program for Power Plants compatible with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
The tentative agenda includes these witnesses--
-- Shawn Steffee, Boilermakers Local 154
-- Jeff Oskin, IBEW Local 29
-- Donald Arena, South-Central Building and Construction Trades Council
-- R. Michael Keith, Chair, Indiana County Board Of Commissioners
-- Mark Hilliard, Indiana County Chamber of Commerce
-- Curtis Whitesel, Homer-Center School District
-- Rod Williams, Industrial Energy Consumers of PA
The Committee held a hearing on the proposal on June 23 and heard testimony from the Boilermakers Lodge 154, PA Manufacturers Association, NFIB, PA Coal Alliance, Olympus Power, DEP, CERES, Sierra Club and the PJM Interconnection.  Read more here.
The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee will hold a hearing August 24 on the same issue.  Read more here.
Both the Senate and House Environmental Committees have held multiple hearings on DEP Carbon Pollution Reduction Programs.
The August 25 hearing will be held at Boilermakers Local Lodge 154, 1221 Banksville Road in Pittsburgh starting at 1:00 p.m.  The hearing will be available online at the Committee website.
Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming) serves as Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Committee and can be contacted by calling 717-787-3280 or sending email to:   Sen. Steve Santarsiero (D-Bucks) serves as Minority Chair and can be contacted by calling 717-787-7305 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.
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.
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[Posted: August 22, 2020] PA Environment Digest

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