Thursday, December 24, 2020

Op-Ed: DEP Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Is Not About Climate Change

Sen. Wayne Langerholc (R-Bedford) & Rep. Jim Rigby (R-Cambria)

Seeing state Rep. Greg Vitali’s column supporting Pennsylvania’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) compels us to correct his gross misrepresentations.

Pennsylvania’s participation in RGGI is not about climate change or any other reduction in pollution.

It is simply the use of a state regulation to accomplish an appalling policy goal of Gov. Tom Wolf – to eliminate, as fast as possible, all five remaining coal-fired power plants in Pennsylvania, three of which support thousands of jobs in our region and provide low-cost, reliable power to millions of Pennsylvanians.

Unfortunately, Vitali, D-Delaware, failed to tell you that by 2019, Pennsylvania’s electric generators had already reduced CO2 emissions from 2005 levels by 32 percent, far exceeding the governor’s arbitrary goal, the targets of the Obama Clean Power Plan and even the Paris Agreement.

Yes, Pennsylvania is a large emitter of CO2 compared to other states, but that’s to be expected when you are the No. 1 exporter of electric power in the U.S. Further, Pennsylvania’s electric generation provides thousands of family sustaining jobs and billions of positive economic impacts per year.

Vitali also does not mention that the power generation lost in Pennsylvania will simply move across state borders into other PJM states that don’t participate in RGGI, such as Ohio and West Virginia.

PJM, to which Pennsylvania belongs, is the regional transmission organization (RTO) that coordinates the movement of electricity in 13 states and the District of Columbia.

Less in-state generation and more importation of electric power is the norm for all RGGI states.

Moving the lost Pennsylvania electric generation across state lines means that those emissions, and those jobs, will simply happen elsewhere.

Consequently, the emissions will continue to occur within our region and with no resultant impact on climate or health. 

As for actual pollutants (recognizing that CO2 is a life essential gas), Pennsylvania already meets the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for particulate matter and ozone at every electric generating source. Therefore, with RGGI, there won’t be any local environmental benefits.

It is worth noting that all three of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection advisory committees voted not to advance the RGGI rule to the Environmental Quality Board. 

They knew the rule would not beneficially impact the climate or environment, but they did know that it would cause significant negative economic impacts.

Joining RGGI is not about climate change, it’s about shutting down coal-fired power plants and creating an unconstitutional tax without involvement of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Given all the RGGI risks, and the absence of any rewards, it should come as no surprise that Wolf has taken advantage of the COVID pandemic and the end of the legislative session to deny meaningful public participation and legislative oversight.

Rest assured, we will continue to oppose Pennsylvania joining RGGI and are committed to protecting these critical family sustaining jobs and our coal communities that Wolf seems so intent on destroying.

[Visit DEP’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative webpage to learn more about the proposal.  Public comments on the proposal are due January 14. Read more here.]

Sen. Wayne Langerholc represents the 35th Senate District and Rep. Jim Rigby represents the 71st House District.

(Photos: Sen. Langerholc and Rep. Rigby.)

Related Articles - RGGI:

-- Clean Power PA Coalition: 95% Of Commenters At EQB Hearing On Proposed Power Plant Carbon Pollution Reduction Regulation Hearings Supported The Proposal

-- Sen. Costa Introduces Bill To Reduce Carbon Pollution From Power Plants, Protect Communities, Workers Already Affected By Changing Energy Economy

-- Report: Clean Energy Is A Leading Creator Of New Quality Jobs In Pennsylvania

-- DEP Senate Budget Hearing: Coal-Fired Power Plants Are Closing Without RGGI, We Have To Confront This Issue, Help Workers, Communities

Related Articles This Week - Climate:

-- PA Will Experience 42% More Days Of Extremely Heavy Precipitation By 2050 Due To Climate Change

-- Op-Ed: Keep Pennsylvania’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative On Track - Rep. Greg Vitali 

-- Op-Ed: PA Needs More Jobs, RGGI Will Create Them By Investing In Energy Efficiency - Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance

-- 3 States, D.C Sign On To Regional Transportation Climate Initiative: PA Does Not Sign, But Commits To Individual Actions To Reduce Climate Changing Emissions From Transportation

[Posted: December 24, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

1 comment :

  1. The bare fact is, humanity must get to zero carbon emissions by 2050 or surviving on this planet will be quite a challenge.
    Participating in RGGI will help us make progress toward that goal.
    Senator Lagerholc and Representative Rigby represent the fossil industry. If they represented the public, they would fight to cut carbon emissions to assure that toddlers today will have a future on this planet.


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