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

On June 23, DEP told a virtual hearing by the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee a six week extension of the deadline to submit a proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Program covering power plants to the EQB will not affect the expected January 2022 implementation date for the program.

Gov. Wolf extended the deadline to September 15 from July 31 for submitting a carbon reduction program compatible with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in an announcement on June 22. Read more here.

The hearing itself went over much the same ground as previous information sessions and hearings on this issue in the Senate and House.

Many of the high level issues were summarized nicely in the opening and closing statements of Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming), Majority Chair of the Committee, and Sen. Steve Santarsiero (D-Bucks), Minority Chair.

Sen. Yaw

“This hearing is with regard to the Governor's Executive Order instructing the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to participate in RGGI, which is a compact between several Northeast and Mid Atlantic states that imposes a carbon tax on electricity production and requires fossil fuel users to purchase allowances in order to meet certain emissions' criteria.

“Since our execution of the executive order, the COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped Pennsylvania's economy. We now have high unemployment, business closures, and everything is still in effect. The pandemic continues to impact the policy making process in Pennsylvania, including the legislative and regulatory process.

“Those rely heavily on the ability of workers and employers and the communities to weigh in on the development of major policy initiatives.   As Chairman of this Committee, it's clear to me that Pennsylvania's energy sector has suffered acutely and uniquely during these past few months.

“For an energy exporter like Pennsylvania, limits on business, travel, and social activities in an effort to contain the virus have had a far-reaching consequence for our state's energy producers, in terms of fossil fuel, renewables, and advanced technologies such as nuclear power.

“Today, production has fallen, prices are erratic, and employees in the sector are worried, and justifiably worried, about their families' futures.

“Our panel of witnesses today are uniquely qualified to comment on some of these matters.”

Closing Comments: “Just some final comments. I raised the issue at the beginning of this hearing that [this proposal doesn’t have] applicability to just the coal industry, but, my question whenever we start talking about energy of any sort, clean energy, renewable energy, or energy in general, is, what's the real cost of it?

“And, the things that we do are not free. I mean, these nuclear power plants just don't fall out of the sky. They just aren't created overnight. In fact, very few or none that I understand are licensed to be created now.

“I have nothing against any [form] of energy. I've been a believer that diverse energy portfolios are the way to go. That's one of the strengths of Pennsylvania. We probably have the most diverse energy portfolio in the United States. We have everything here. We have nuclear. We have geothermal. We have coal. We have gas. We have wind, solar. Many, many people in my district still use wood.

“Now, [what] are the differences in the pollution or the emissions? We need to consider all the background when we're doing this. What's it take to build a solar panel? What's it take to build a windmill? And all those. Those issues aside, in addition to RGGI, but I think that they do reflect on RGGI.

“One, general feeling that I have, and I got this from listening to other people who know a lot more about energy than I do, and that is there's three things that we all face in our society. And that is energy, the economy, and environment.

“First of all, people need energy. Everybody needs energy of some sort, even at a minimal level if you just have to have a campfire, that's still energy of some sort. But in order to really produce, you need an economy, and the economy is gonna be based on energy.

“Our economy is what happens with the energy and how we utilize it, is very, very important. Because when you have an economy, then you can afford to worry about the environment.

“Frankly, if you're worried about where your next meal is coming from, you probably don't care too much about the environment, so the economy is the key to this thing.

“So, this is a huge issue. [The] thing I think was pointed out early today [was] RGGI is going to have an impact on certain segments of Pennsylvania. We need to address that.

“The other thing is, is there a common denominator with those RGGI states that we're joining with, and is Pennsylvania gonna be treated fairly? Those are all good questions.  I think that is something that we are going to explore. I'm sure this will not be the last hearing that we have on this issue.”

Sen. Santarsiero

“I want to thank all of our panelists and committee members for being here today on this very important discussion. And as the Chairman noted, we are in the midst of a global pandemic, as well as significant issues surrounding our criminal justice system here in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States.

“And while those are issues that demand our immediate attention, we can't lose sight of the fact that the global climate crisis is one that is not going away and that will have devastating impacts not only on Pennsylvania, but the United States and the world, if it's not addressed.

“I wholeheartedly support the Governor's proposal for Pennsylvania to join RGGI because RGGI will enable us to meet our carbon emissions goals, as set forth by the governor and as informed by the science.

“Moreover, it will provide an economic benefit to our state over time, and that economic benefit will be particularly important as we discuss these issues of job losses that are occurring because of the pandemic, but also because of the change in the economy over time.

“The benefit that RGGI will give us goes beyond, however, creating jobs, as important as that is. It will also save Pennsylvania hundreds of millions of dollars on healthcare costs. It will provide us with [benefits], in terms of quality of life that people enjoy throughout the Commonwealth, and it will work in reducing our carbon emissions.

“So for all those reasons, I am an enthusiastic supporter of RGGI. But this is an important change in Pennsylvania policy, and as a consequence, it does require thorough public input and, frankly, thorough input to this committee, as we move forward, which is why I thank the  chairman for putting this, hearing together today, and being open to potential further hearings should we need it.

“The regulatory process that is about to unfold, and I'm sure some of our witnesses will describe, will provide ample opportunity for the public to comment as well. And that's gonna be an important part of this process too.”

Closing Comments: “I listened to the arguments for and against [this proposal, and] it struck me that the arguments against RGGI boiled down to a few.

“First [opposing argument], that this was not going to have a meaningful impact on carbon emissions because any cuts here in Pennsylvania would be offset by increases in neighboring states.

“Leaving aside whether that statement is, in fact true, and there are significant questions about whether that is actually true or vastly overstated, there's a fundamental flaw in that argument, and that is that under that line of reasoning, we would never have an incentive to do anything to address our carbon emissions here in Pennsylvania and address the climate crisis.

“That other neighboring states are propping up the coal industry, as for example Ohio is, is not a reason for us not to take an important step in cutting our carbon emissions. In fact, what should happen is a national policy that reduces carbon emissions across the country, and hopefully that will happen in the not too distant future.

“But the truth of the matter is, the coal industry is declining everywhere. Here in Pennsylvania, in Ohio, and across the United States. The number of coal fire plants in the United States is vastly down from what it was even six years ago, and those numbers are increasingly going in that direction. So, this is not about saving coal plants at the end of the day, because they're closing, as we discussed earlier.

“Another argument is that the cost is gonna be too great. But again, many of those statements are not founded.

“The fact of the matter is, in the other RGGI states, there hasn't been a dramatic increase in cost to consumers. And ultimately, this Legislature and the Governor will have the power to take the revenue generated from RGGI and use it to help consumers and also to help workers, help workers who are doing- being displaced already and not getting the help that they need from our state.

“We talk about jobs, and the fact of the matter is that RGGI will produce 10 times more jobs than right now exist in the fossil fuel energy generation industry. And if we're talking about making sure those jobs are sustainable and good paying jobs with benefits, we should by all means be supporting organized labor to make sure that happens.

“But as we heard just a little while ago, many of the organizations that oppose RGGI on the business side are organizations that want to make Pennsylvania a right-to-work state, which if that were ever successful would vastly undermine the ability of workers to organize, as we've seen in the other states that have adopted so called right to work laws.

“So, I would submit that this is the right move for our environment and our future and the sustainability of our planet, it's the right move for our economy and our consumers, and ultimately it can and should be the right move for Pennsylvania workers.

“So, I again applaud the Governor for taking this step. I look forward to additional hearings that we will have in the coming months, um, as well as the regulatory process as it unfolds, this fall. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”

DEP Outlines Benefits

DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell and Hayley Book, Senior Advisory on Energy and Climate outlined, briefly, the proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Program for power plants and its expected benefits.  Among those benefits where--

-- Carbon Pollution Reductions: 188 million in carbon dioxide reductions by 2030 to help Pennsylvania meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals of 26 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050.  That reduction is 10 times as much as would have otherwise been possible without participation in RGGI;

-- Air Pollutant Reductions: The carbon pollution reductions could with the additional benefit of reducing nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide-- precursors to ozone pollution-- and particulate matter reductions which are a significant contributor to respiratory illness.  Chronic exposure to air pollutants like these have been related to higher rates of morbidity and mortality from COVID-19;

-- Health Benefits: “10 years from now, we could save the lives of 639 Pennsylvanians, avoid 40,000 asthma attacks in children, healthier children will be able to play more, as incidences of minor restricted activity days due to poor air quality will decline on the order of almost 500,000 days between now and 2030.

“And adults will also be healthier, with 83,000 avoided lost work days due to these health impacts. Fewer lost work days results in increased productivity and fewer hospital visits and doctors' bills mean more healthcare savings.

“Using EPA's methodology, the public health benefits to the commonwealth of these avoided SO2 and NOx emissions range between $2.8 and $6.3 billion by 2030, and that's an average of around $230 to $520 million per year. So, these are some significant and tangible benefits for Pennsylvania.

-- Jobs: “With sound investments of auction proceeds by 2030, this proposed rulemaking would lead to an increase in Pennsylvania's gross state product of $1.9 billion, and a net increase of more than 27,000 jobs in this commonwealth.”

-- Smooth Transition For Communities Dependent On Coal: “One notable result of Pennsylvania's modeling is the decline of Pennsylvania's coal generation, from 47 percent of our electricity portfolio in 2010 to barely 1 percent of our generation in 2030.

“This impact will occur irrespective of participation in RGGI, and is driven strictly by current market forces.

“Pennsylvania's coal communities will suffer huge losses in the future as the energy sector naturally transitions over the next 10 years, unless there is intervention to facilitate a smooth transition from coal.

“And for that, RGGI offers a solution.

“It functions as a cap and invest program, which allows proceeds from the sale of Pennsylvania CO2 allowances to return to Pennsylvania for investment.

“DEP projects that if Pennsylvania begins participation in 2022, the commonwealth could receive nearly 300 million in auction revenue in 2022. Under our existing legislative authority, this revenue can [only] be used to reduce air pollution in the commonwealth. 

“Further collaboration between DEP and the general assembly could ensure that communities and employees impacted by this energy sector transition have the resources and options between now and 2030.

“There are opportunities to expand the reach and impact of these RGGI investments, including assisting workers, communities, and families with these future energy transitions.

“We invite members of the General Assembly to engage collaboratively in these conversations with the department, so that together we may develop a plan that is truly beneficial for all Pennsylvanians.”

Secretary McDonnell said part of the reason for extending the deadline into September was to allow more time to consult and engage with environmental justice and impacted communities on the proposal.

He said there is also a webinar being scheduled in the next few weeks as part of that process.

[Note: DEP did not provide any written testimony.]

PUC Chairman

Gladys Brown Dutrieuille, Chairman of the Public Utility Commission, said since Gov. Wolf issued his Executive Order last October, the Commission has been actively studying the RGGI design, reviewing documentation coming from PJM’s Carbon Pricing Senior Task Force and engaging with DEP on the proposal.

She noted DEP's proposal would exempt all electric generating units of less than 25 MW in capacity, effectively all net-metered utility accounts with permitted emissions [like coal refuse-fired] and all electric generation of 25 MW or less at manufacturing facilities.

Chairman Brown Dutrieuille made clear the Commission has no role in regulating electric generation because Pennsylvania is a retail competition state, but offered some minimum and maximum price impacts generators could see from the proposal for informational purposes--

-- Coal from $5.50 to $8.75 per MWh

-- Combined Cycle Natural Gas from $2.50 to $4.25

-- Simple Cycle Natural Gas from $4.00 to $6.50

-- Fuel Oil from $7.00 to $11.00

Where or not the full amounts of these impacts are passed along to consumers is dependent on that actual auction cost of the allowances under the proposal and generator decisions.

“... The cost to a generator for RGGI compliance is directly correlated to the carbon intensity of the generator’s fuel used in electricity production and the overall efficiency of electric generating technology.

“As such, the values indicate a higher cost of compliance for coal plants when compared to combined cycle natural gas plants. Therefore, the effect of the Commonwealth’s joining RGGI would appear to be more profound on coal generators than others.”

“... These additional costs would likely serve to accelerate the Pennsylvania electric generation marketplace transformation toward the four resources referenced earlier in this testimony: natural gas, solar, wind, and storage.”

Chairman Brown Dutrieuille also noted the Commission is monitoring and reviewing the issue of “leakage”-- the potential increase in out-of-state generation at the expense of in-state generation and the consequent change in CO2 emissions in response to the price changes caused by the proposal.

Working with PJM, she said, “Assuming no leakage-mitigation mechanism is in place, the modeling predicts that joining RGGI would reduce carbon emissions and overall generation in the five PJM RGGI states, with an increase in emissions and generation in the rest of PJM. Net CO2 emissions throughout PJM would be reduced.”

[Note: PJM includes West Virginia and Ohio.]

PJM Regional Grid Operator

Stephen Bennett, PJM Interconnection, noted  “PJM does not take advocacy positions on state legislation. PJM recognizes and respects Pennsylvania’s prerogative to determine its policies regarding environmental protection and emissions management. PJM also recognizes that state policy plays a significant role in determining the assets and fuel mix used to meet the state’s resource adequacy needs.

“Rather than advocate, PJM seeks to be a neutral party and provider of factual information on the planning and operation of the bulk electric power system, the operation and evolution of the wholesale power markets that help ensure reliability at the lowest reasonable cost, and the value PJM provides as an RTO.”

“PJM does not have the authority to implement a carbon price on its own. While PJM recognizes the economic efficiency of addressing emission concerns by pricing carbon, PJM is not an environmental or air quality policymaking entity.

“PJM believes that if a state wants a price on carbon, that price must come from the federal government, a state government, or through state agreements such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).”

Bennet said PJM created a Carbon Pricing Senior Task Force stakeholder process to deal with issues like “leakage” which has done modeling on this issue and its potential impact.

“At a very high level, PJM’s modeling shows that implementing a carbon price without leakage mitigation generally displaces generation from the carbon price region to the rest of PJM (i.e., the region without a carbon price).”

“One of the strongest conclusions that can be drawn from PJM’s modeling to date is that the states included or excluded from the carbon pricing region are a driving factor in determining the overall impact that carbon pricing has on net PJM carbon emissions and electricity prices.

“Carbon pricing creates some amount of generation displacement. Without leakage mitigation, that displacement is often from one state to another. With leakage mitigation, that displacement may occur largely within the carbon pricing region itself.”

Bennet noted PJM has not modeled any state-specific approaches to carbon pricing.

PA Coal Alliance

Rachel Gleason, Pennsylvania Coal Alliance, noted since Pennsylvania deregulated its electric generation market in 1996, 18 coal-fired power plants have been deactivated or converted to natural gas and one other is scheduled to end its coal use by 2029 for a total of 11.4 GW of coal generation capacity.

Pennsylvania has five coal-fired power plants remaining.

The Alliance said DEP is developing the proposal “with the absence of economic modeling for all communities and industries impacted, with emission modeling that shows no environmental benefit to joining RGGI, and without the involvement of the General Assembly.”

“If Pennsylvania were to join RGGI, all fossil fuel generation in Pennsylvania would be placed at a competitive disadvantage to similar units in PJM states that do not have a tax on their electric generation.

“The shuttering of coal and some natural gas plants in our state only leads to encouraging and strengthening fossil fuel electric power generation in non-RGGI PJM states.”

Gleason said this statement was backed up by a study done by Energy Ventures Analysis for the Alliance.

She also noted clean coal plants using carbon capture technology are also in development.

“In recognizing the need to develop a smooth transition from the existing coal-fired electric generating units without compromising the coal supply chain, the operator of the largest underground coal mine in North America, located in Greene and Washington Counties, CONSOL Energy, recently embarked on a project focused on designing a 300MW coal-fueled power plant based on advanced pressurized fluidized bed combustion (PFBC) technology with carbon dioxide capture and storage.

“The project is part of the U.S.  Department of Energy’s (DOE) Coal FIRST (Flexible, Innovative, Resilient, Small, Transformative) initiative.

“In April 2019, CONSOL’s project was one of thirteen selected under the Coal FIRST initiative to provide a base conceptual design. In October of the same year, the design was one of seven selected to proceed with a preliminary front-end engineering and design (pre-FEED) study, which was completed last month.

“In the next several months, the DOE is expected to issue a funding opportunity announcement and select a subset of Coal FIRST projects to proceed with a full FEED study. Going forward, next steps include identifying technology partners and addressing permitting and project financing.

“CONSOL’s pre-FEED study projected that, assuming financing and permitting schedules are achieved, the advanced PFBC project in southwestern PA could achieve groundbreaking by 2024 and become operational by 2027.”

Olympus Power

Vincent Brisini, Olympus Power, gave much the same presentation he has in the past on the DEP proposal concluding with--

-- It won’t cause a shift to renewable electric generation.

-- It won’t help nuclear generation because the PJM market will dispatch the lowest cost units, minimizing any price increases.

-- It will result in companies moving the development of new natural gas-fired generating units to other non-RGGI PJM states, and the ICF modeling supports that assessment.

-- Any RGGI tax will be borne disproportionately by residential customers.

-- It won’t result in local or regional CO2 emissions reductions that will meaningfully affect or benefit local, regional or global climates.

--It will only generate $175-200 million per year in RGGI tax revenue.

Boilermakers Lodge 154

Shawn Steffee, Boilermakers Local Lodge 154, said, “This decision by Gov. Wolf through an Executive Order will ultimately crush Pennsylvania as a leader of electricity generation.  Our coal-fired power plants and older gas plants will lose their ability to complete with West Virginia and Ohio which will not join RGGI and avoid being faced with a carbon tax.

“As a result of this decision, our plants will abruptly close and new power generation growth will happen in West Virginia and Ohio costing us thousands of good-paying blue collar jobs.

“School districts will close, and communities will feel the affect of this decision for years on top of the COVID-19 pandemic we currently face, a fact that Gov. Wolf has not disputed in any way.

“Coal and gas industry leaders, plant owners, labor unions, state building trades council, including Pennsylvania Building Trades president Frank Sirianni, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO president Rick Bloomingdale, Pittsburgh Building Trades Business Manager Tom Melcher and more of us have joined a coalition called Power PA Jobs Alliance in an effort to stop RGGI.

“This should raise a red flag to this Committee that so many competent men and women dispute any reward that RGGI has to offer.”

“Gov. Wolf, DEP, the Sierra Club and Ceres tout all these great new green jobs.  My research shows blue collar green jobs average $24,000 a year.  And I am still waiting for a specific example in Pennsylvania of great building and trades green jobs created to replace the thousands we will lose.

“As of March of 2020 and ten years in RGGI, the RGGI states have the highest electricity prices in the United States, some even higher than Alaska and California, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.”

“We want to improve our environment and build the next engineering marvels that will use our abundant fossil fuels responsibly and create more jobs keeping Pennsylvania as an industry leader, not dismantling it with RGGI.”

Click Here for an audio recording of Steffee’s complete remarks.

[Note: In 2018, the Boilermakers Union provided testimony to the Senate-House Nuclear Energy Caucus supporting efforts to keep Pennsylvania’s nuclear power plants open saying, “For years, Boilermakers have acknowledged the realities of climate change and have successfully advocated at the state and federal level for solutions which simultaneously allow for the responsible use of all of our domestic energy resources, maintenance of a diverse energy portfolio, and job creation.”]

PA Manufacturers Association

Carl Marrara, PA Manufacturers Association, pointed to a CATO Institute study by David Stevenson which said, “RGGI allowance costs added to already high regional electric bills. The combined pricing impact resulted in a 12 percent drop in goods production and a 34 percent drop in the production of energy intensive goods. Comparison states increased goods production by 20 percent and lost only five (5) percent of energy-intensive manufacturing. Power imports from other states increased from eight (8) percent to 17 percent.”

He concluded his remarks by saying, “By entering into RGGI, industrial activity will be relocated, and who knows where it will go. Tax policies and responses to COVID-19 at the federal level are making it the smart business decision to locate, hire, and expand here in the United States.

“Let’s not drive that activity back across our borders into neighboring states, or worse, foreign countries.

“It’s not a stretch to say that by supporting RGGI you’re supporting Russian and/or Middle Eastern global energy leadership and Chinese steel-dumping.

“Let’s work with our industries to invent, innovate, and forge a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment – not overregulate our many vital industries out of existence.”


Rebecca Oyler, National Federation Of Independent Businesses, said, “Because of their size, small business owners are particularly sensitive to energy cost increases. This is especially true of energy-intensive small businesses like laundromats, car dealerships, convenience stores, and small manufacturers. Tight margins make it difficult to adjust the price of their goods and services or to change business practices quickly enough to manage steep increases.”

“RGGI’s energy cost increases will in effect be a hidden tax throughout the economy that will put Pennsylvania businesses and jobs at risk.

“Cost increases on coal and natural gas electric generators, which make up 57 percent of Pennsylvania’s energy mix, will force many power plants out of business.

“Jobs will be lost in communities where power plants close—not just the jobs in these plants and their supply businesses, but jobs with contractors, garages, retailers, small grocery stores, and countless other small businesses serving those communities.

“With the staggering unemployment rate in Pennsylvania brought about by COVID19 business closures, the timing could not be worse.”

“Consideration should be given to finding true market incentives here in Pennsylvania that improve air quality and the quality of life directly in our local communities.

“The Wetlands Replacement Project is a successful DEP program that leverages public and private funding to restore and create wetlands. Pennsylvania might consider creating a similar program that would incentivize public and private investment in community projects that improve air quality.

“Eligible projects could include: reforestation, improved forest management, energy efficiency improvements, pedestrian/bike trails, parking areas for shared ride programs, research grants, and even abandoned well plugging.”

“We ask that policymakers consider RGGI’s significant costs and weigh them against its unclear benefits, especially during what has been an unprecedented time for our economy and small businesses. Now is the time to look ahead to recovery, not to saddle Pennsylvania’s job creators and innovators with hidden tax burdens now and for the foreseeable future.”


Brianna Esteves, Ceres - a national organization working with investors and companies to build a more sustainable economy, said, “Pennsylvania industries are already feeling the effects of climate change disrupting the economy.

“While generally warmer temperatures might be favorable for wine production, the increase in erratic weather patterns, floods and droughts provide instability and added risks for farmers relying on the success of their crop to feed their families as well as Pennsylvania’s livestock.

“Left unmanaged, the increased risks from climate change could have significant consequences for asset valuations, financial markets, and overall economic stability.”

“RGGI is a proven economic and environmental success. It has been in operation for more than a decade by a bipartisan grouping of ten states—soon to be eleven when Virginia joins the RGGI market in January 2021.

“Since 2009, RGGI has helped participating states cut electricity sector carbon emissions in half.

“Meanwhile, in RGGI states over the last ten years, economic growth outpaced the rest of the country and electricity prices decreased, despite average electricity price increases across the rest of the country.8 RGGI has also led to the creation of thousands of jobs across the region.

“Time and again, RGGI has surpassed expectations in its efficiency in sending a clear market signal to the private sector to innovate and find cost-effective solutions. Even the businesses whose entities fall under regulation of the RGGI carbon cap have stated their appreciation for the RGGI solution, which enables businesses to plan ahead, compete, and innovate.”

“Participating in RGGI could also protect Pennsylvania’s economy during future economic shocks.

“For example, investing in energy efficiency helps businesses recover faster because they require less input (energy) to produce their products. Electricity bills in RGGI states are projected to be 35 percent less in 2031 than they are today; this represents real savings that consumers and businesses large and small can save for a rainy day or put back into the economy.

“Meanwhile, investing in low-carbon solutions now would help prepare Pennsylvania’s industries for looming federal climate policies.”

Sierra Club

Tom Schuster, Clean Energy Program, PA Chapter Sierra Club, said, “Our Commonwealth is a globally significant emitter of the carbon dioxide pollution that is the primary driver of our climate crisis. Nationally, we’re ranked in the top four states for emissions related to fracked gas and coal use.

“We emitted more energy-related carbon pollution in 2015 than 172 of the 194 nations that signed on to the Paris Climate Agreement. We can and must do our part to control this pollution before it is too late, and in the process we can grow our clean energy economy.

“A recent review by the Acadia Center of the program’s first 10 years found that:

-- CO2 emissions from RGGI-covered power plants have fallen by 47 percent, outpacing the rest of the country by 90 percent, while reductions in other air pollutants from these plants have resulted in over $5.7 billion in health and productivity benefits;

-- RGGI states have generated $3.2 billion in allowance auction proceeds, the majority of which have been invested in energy efficiency and renewable energy programs;

-- Electricity prices in RGGI states have fallen by 5.7 percent, while prices have increased in the rest of the country by 8.6 percent;

-- The combined economies of the RGGI states have grown by 47 percent, outpacing growth in the rest of the country by 31 percent.

“I want to underscore those last two points, because while opponents of RGGI predict economic harm, that has simply not occurred where this system has been in place. In fact, pricing carbon pollution corrects a market failure, and in doing so leads to innovation and prevents significant costs associated with pollution.”

“And make no mistake: no matter what policy path we choose, power plants will retire because our regional grid is grossly oversupplied with generating capacity.

“But participation in RGGI would ensure that the ones that stay open are the ones that pollute less, making it much easier for us to mitigate the impacts of climate change that we’ve already started to experience.

“We can already see this playing out with the announcement of Energy Harbor to keep the Beaver Valley nuclear plant open if carbon dioxide limits go into effect as scheduled.

“The plant was previously scheduled to retire in 2021, and employs three times the number of workers as a similarly sized coal plant.”

Video/Written Comments

Click Here for a video of the virtual hearing and for written testimony and presentation slides.

Written comments were also submitted to the Committee by Industrial Energy Consumers of PA and LS Power.

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:

Related Articles This Week:

-- Gov. Wolf Gives DEP Until September To Submit Carbon Pollution Emissions Reduction Plan For Power Plants To EQB

-- DEP Climate Advisory Committee Meets June 30 On Latest PA Greenhouse Gas Inventory Showing Slight Increase In CO2 Emissions In 2017

-- Solar Power Deal Accelerates University Of Pittsburgh’s Sustainability Progress

-- PA Treasurer Torsella Calls On U.S. Supermarkets To Reduce Emissions Of Pollutants More Harmful Than CO2

-- Op-Ed: Energy Conservation Is Conservative - PA Conservative Energy Forum

-- House Environmental Committee To Hold Hearing July 21 On Proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Program For Power Plants

Related Articles - Carbon Pollution:

-- Modeling For Carbon Pollution Reduction Proposal Shows 180M Ton Reduction In CO2, 3% Increase In Electric, Coal Use Drops Either Way

-- New PA Poll: 72% Of Pennsylvania Voters Say It's Important Their Electricity Comes From Energy Not Creating Carbon Emissions

-- New Poll Finds 79% Of Pennsylvania Voters Support Limits On Carbon Pollution From Power Plants

-- U.S. EIA Expects Coal-Fired Electric Generation To Fall By 25% In 2020; 11% Increase In Renewables; Natural Gas Flat

-- Republican House Members Sign Letter Urging Governor To Halt Efforts To Join Regional Carbon Pollution Reduction Program

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

-- Republicans Move Bill Taking Away DEP’s Authority To Enact Carbon Pollution Reduction Program For Power Plants

-- PEC, EDF Urge House Members To Oppose Bill Taking Away DEP’s Authority To Enact Any Program To Reduce Carbon Pollution Emissions

-- Organizations Urge PA Lawmakers To Create Clean Energy Jobs With Carbon Pollution Reduction Program

-- New PEC Podcast: Fmr Gov. Tom Ridge On Conservatives Being Out Of Touch On The Environment

-- Op-Ed:My Fellow Conservatives Are Out Of Touch On The Environment - Fmr. Gov. Tom Ridge

[Posted: June 23, 2020]


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