Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Senate Environmental Committee Meets Sept. 3 On Bills Taking Away DEP’s Authority To Adopt A Carbon Pollution Reduction Program For Power Plants

The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee is scheduled to hold a virtual meeting September 3 on two bills which take away DEP’s authority to adopt a carbon pollution reduction program for power plants compatible with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
The bills include Senate Bill 950 (Pittman-R-Indiana) and the House-passed House Bill 2025 (Struzzi-R-Indiana).
Two other bills are on the agenda--
-- Senate Bill 1173 (Yaw-R-Lycoming) eliminating appointment of DEP’s Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee members by the Governor and changing it to appointments made by the House, Senate and the Governor. (sponsor summary).  [Note: AQTAC had a tie vote on whether to recommend DEP’s carbon pollution reduction program go to the Environmental Quality Board for action.  Two other committee voted to not recommend the program]
-- House Bill 1808 (Mackenzie-R-Lehigh) further provides for the recycling of plastics by making it into fuel.  [Read more here.]
The meeting will start at 11:30 a.m. and will be held via Zoom and will be available on the Committee’s webpage.
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: gyaw@pasen.gov.   Sen. Steve Santarsiero (D-Bucks) serves as Minority Chair and can be contacted by calling 717-787-7305 or sending email to: senatorsantarsiero@pasenate.com
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.
The Senate and House environmental committees have held multiple hearings and information sessions on DEP's carbon pollution reduction proposal starting with a briefing in the Senate on October 22 even before the formal proposal was introduced.
A June 23 Senate committee hearing summarizes the major points made on DEP’s carbon pollution reduction proposal.  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.
Related Articles - Carbon Pollution Reduction:
[Posted: Sept. 1, 2020] PA Environment Digest

No comments :

Post a Comment

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner