Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Senate Republicans Report Out Bill Taking Away DEP Authority To Reduce Carbon Pollution From Any Source, Including Power Plants

On April 27, the
Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee reported out Senate Bill 119 (Pittman-R-Indiana) taking away DEP’s statutory authority to adopt regulations to reduce carbon pollution from any source, including power plants consistent with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative by party-line vote-- Republicans supporting.

The bill now goes to the full Senate for action.

Click Here for statements on the bill by Sen. Yaw, Majority Chair,  and Sen. Comitta, Minority Chair.

The bill contains the same language as House Bill 2025 (Struzzi-R-Indiana) that Gov. Wolf vetoed last September.  Read more hereRead his veto message.

DEP is now in another round of consultations with its advisory committees on the final regulation establishing the Carbon Pollution Reduction Program covering power plants and is expected to bring it back to the Environmental Quality Board for final action in July.

Visit DEP’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative webpage for more on the proposal.


This legislation is another round in the continuing fight between Republicans and Gov. Wolf on the RGGI issue.

Senate Republicans last week wrote to Gov. Wolf to advise him they will reject all future nominees to the Public Utility Commission until he withdraws his executive order joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.  Read more here.

The PUC has nothing to do with the RGGI regulation.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette quoted Gov. Wolf’s spokeswoman, Lyndsay Kensinger, as saying the senators were setting a “reckless precedent” by “using an appointment to a critical commission, which serves all Pennsylvanians, as a hostage.”  Read more here.

Last week, Senate and House Republicans also announced the revival of the Legislative Coal Caucus to support the coal mining industry. Read more here.

On April 19, the leadership of the United Mine Workers made a major announcement-- they would accept President Biden’s plan to move away from coal and other fossil fuels in exchange for a “true energy transition” that includes thousands of jobs in renewable energy and spending on technology to make coal cleaner.  Read more here.

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Energy announced a preliminary $109 million initiative to directly support job creation in communities impacted by changes in the energy economy, funding to support the development of carbon capture technology, finding ways to extract valuable minerals from coal and its related waste streams and more.  Read more here.

Followup reporting Monday finds the Biden Administration is targeting up to $38 billion in unspent funds to help spur job creation in communities impacted by the decline of the coal industry.  Read more here.

So far, PA Republicans have not proposed a Mine Worker-type transition initiative to support workers and communities to help them grow again.

In Pennsylvania, 19 coal-fired power plants have already closed as a result of competition from natural gas in the last few years, according to the PA Coal Alliance during Senate hearings on RGGI.

Senate and House Republicans did not take steps to deal with the serious issues these closures created for workers and their communities.

Other things worth mentioning--

-- 95% Of Comments Support Regulation: 95 percent of the comments received during the comment period and an unprecedented 10 public hearing sessions on DEP’s proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Regulation supported the proposal.  Read more here.

-- 72% Of Voters Support Joining RGGI: 72 percent of Pennsylvania voters support the state’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, according to a poll released in September.  Read more here.

-- 73% Of Voters Concerned About Impacts Of Climate Change: 73 percent of Pennsylvania voters are concerned about the future negative impacts of climate change on their children and grandchildren and also want state government to support communities financially-- 70 percent--who may be impacted by the change to cleaner energy sources. Read more here.

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. Carolyn Comitta (D-Chester) serves as Minority Chair and can be contacted by calling 717-787-5709 or sending email to: senatorcomitta@pasenate.com.


Rachel McDevitt: RGGI Fight Escalation Over Reducing Carbon Pollution At Power Plants, Republicans Block Wolf’s Nominations To PUC

PA Cap-Star: House, Senate Republicans Stymie Wolf On Climate Change, Hold Up Key PUC Appointments

Related Articles This Week:

-- Sen. Yaw, Sen. Comitta Offer Statements On Senate Legislation To Take Away DEP's Authority To Reduce Carbon Emissions From Any Source, Including Power Plants

-- Senate Agriculture, Environmental Committees May 12 Hearing On Bonding Solar, Wind, Biomass, Energy Efficient Products To Slow Growth Of Renewable Energy In PA 

-- Senate Republicans Report Out Bills To Kill Regulations By Doing Nothing, Repeal Regs Because They Have Too Many Words, Shield Law Breakers, And More 

Related Articles - Senate RGGI Actions:

-- Gov. Wolf Issues Executive Order Directing DEP To Join Regional Initiative To Limit Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Power Plants [October 2019]

-- 18 Senate Republicans Ask Gov. Wolf To Withdrawn His Executive Order Asking DEP To Establish A Carbon Pollution Reduction Program For Power Plants  [April 2020]

-- Senate Republicans Cut Off Debate, Pass Bill Taking Away DEP’s Authority To Adopt A Carbon Pollution Reduction Program For Power Plants; Bill Goes To Governor  [September 2020]

-- Gov. Wolf Vetoes Bill Taking Away DEP’s Authority To Adopt A Carbon Pollution Reduction Program For Power Plants  [September 2020]

-- Republicans On Senate Environmental Committee Approve Letter Urging IRRC To Disapprove Reg. Reducing Carbon Pollution From Power Plants  [February 2021]

-- PA Senate, House Lawmakers Announce 2021-22 Legislative Coal Caucus To Support Coal Mining Industry [April 2021]

-- Senate Virtual Hearing Covers Familiar Ground On Carbon Pollution Reduction Program For Power Plants; DEP Expects No Delay In Implementation With Extension [June 2020]

Related Articles - Block Renewable Energy/Climate Initiatives:

-- Sen. Yaw Bill Would Load Up Renewable Energy Projects, Makers Of Energy Efficiency Products, Biomass, Coal Waste Plants, Alternative Fuels, Even High-Efficiency Locomotives With Bonds To Make Them Less Competitive

-- Sen. Yaw Plans Bills To Stop State From Supporting Solar Energy Projects With Any Foreign Components; Adopt A Moratorium On Rulemaking During A Declared Emergency

-- Sen. Yaw Introduces Bill To Preempt Local Governments From Requiring New Buildings Use Climate-Friendly Energy Sources

-- Sen. Dush Introduces Senate Bill 530 Requiring Recycling Of Solar Panels Thru Broken State Electronic Waste Recycling Program.  Read more here.

-- PA Senate Republican Caucus Files Lawsuit Against Delaware River Basin Commission Over Shale Gas Drilling Moratorium

-- Republicans On Senate Environmental Committee Approve Letter Urging IRRC To Disapprove Reg. Reducing Carbon Pollution From Power Plants

-- Republicans On House Committee OK Letter Urging IRRC To Disapprove Reg. Reducing Carbon Pollution From Power Plants 

[Posted: April 27, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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