Monday, January 23, 2023

Senate Republicans Urge Gov. Shapiro To Take Steps 'Immediately' To Repeal Final Reg. Limiting Carbon Pollution From Power Plants [RGGI]

On January 18, every member of the Senate Republican Caucus
wrote a letter to Gov. Josh Shapiro urging him to take steps to repeal the final regulation limiting carbon pollution from power plants consistent with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

In July, Commonwealth Court issued a preliminary injunction putting implementation of the regulation on hold pending the outcome of a legal challenge by the PA Coal Alliance, United Mine Workers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Works, Boilermakers and several power generation companies.  Read more here.

The Senate Republican letter said in part--

“As you are aware, RGGI would impose a multi-billion-dollar compliance burden upon Pennsylvania electric generating units, which would then ripple through our entire state economy. 

“Impartial analysis from the Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) projects RGGI could nearly quadruple new electricity costs for consumers. 

“Among the many shocking details of the latest IFO report, Pennsylvania energy generators could spend upwards of $781 million annually on emissions credits at the RGGI auctions — nearly four times the amount anticipated by the administration’s taxpayer-funded analysis used to justify our participation in RGGI in 2020.”

"You have previously indicated your own doubts about whether Pennsylvania’s participation in RGGI is the best approach for the Commonwealth. 

“Understanding a full resolution of the legal challenges to Pennsylvania’s CO2 Budget Trading Program regulations are still pending in court, we submit to you a list of actions your administration must take immediately to ensure RGGI’ s negative impacts on Pennsylvanians are prevented, regardless of the ultimate outcome of the litigation.”

The letter lists these actions--

“-- Initiate the process of repealing the RGGI final-form rulemaking at the earliest possible opportunity. (Such action would not require waiting for a resolution in court.)

-- Prohibit DEP from levying any fines, fees, or penalties for failure to comply with any provision of the RGGI final-form rulemaking if the rule does ultimately take effect before the repeal is complete.

-- Set forth in writing to the participating states in RGGI that Pennsylvania would no longer be a “Participating State” as that term is defined in the RGGI, Inc. Bylaws.

-- Bar the Commonwealth from entering into or extending any contract or agreement with RGGI, Inc., nor utilize the services of RGGI, Inc.

-- Confirm that the Commonwealth would no longer make any payments to RGGI, Inc.

-- Prohibit any employee of DEP or the PUC from sitting on RGGI, Inc.’s Board of Directors.

-- Publicly announce that Pennsylvania would not participate in a multistate C02 allowance auction in coordination with other participating states.

-- If it becomes necessary to make emissions allowances available for purchase before the RGGI rulemaking can be repealed, make RGGI emissions allowances available to Pennsylvania Covered Sources for “purchase” for $0.00, similar to other DEP allowance programs.

“If you choose to proceed with the pending litigation, rather than immediately remove the Commonwealth from RGGI, you should, at a minimum:

-- Toll all DEP compliance deadlines associated with the RGGI final-form rulemaking unless and until the RGGI rule is upheld by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and all litigation is resolved.

-- Require that the “effective date” of the RGGI final-form rulemaking would be no sooner than January 1, falling at least six months after any Supreme Court’s decision upholding the RGGI final-form rulemaking and the final resolution of any related litigation.

“As you are well aware, the impacts of the RGGI proposal will be felt immediately in the lives of every resident of this Commonwealth. With regard to energy policy, we see no need for delay. We look forward to you taking action on these items as your first energy order of business and begin the process to extract our Commonwealth from the onerous and ineffective carbon tax program.”

Click Here to read the letter.

Visit DEP’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative webpage for more information on the final regulation.


-- StateImpactPA - Rachel McDevitt: Commonwealth Court Says DEP Challenge To Delay In Publishing Final Reg. Limiting Carbon Pollution From Power Plants Moot  [RGGI]

Related Article - RGGI:

-- Commonwealth Court Issues Preliminary Injunction Pausing PA’s RGGI Carbon Pollution Reduction Program Covering Power Plants

Related Article This Week:

-- Natural Gas Industry, Senate Republicans Launch Effort To Unleash The Industry, Reduce Regulation, Call For Automatic Approval Of Permits, Limit Public Comments  [PaEN]

[Posted: January 23, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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