Republicans On House Committee OK Letter Urging IRRC To Disapprove Reg. Reducing Carbon Pollution From Power Plants
On January 12, Republicans and one Democrat on the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee voted to approve a letter to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission expressing its disapproval of proposed regulations reducing carbon pollution from power plants compatible with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
This proposal is part of the House Republican environmental agenda for the new legislative session and the first to see action.
The Democratic member voting no was Rep. Pam Snyder (D-Greene).
The letter by the Committee primarily raises the issue of whether the Environmental Quality Board has the authority to adopt a regulation like the carbon pollution reduction program.
The Republican members of the Committee clearly feel they do not, however, carbon emissions are a regulated pollutant under federal and state air pollution control statutes and therefore the Environmental Quality Board can adopt regulations to control them, as has the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Republicans also argued the regulation imposes a “tax” which only the General Assembly can do.
The requirement to buy allowances or credits under the proposed regulation are similar to those that are part of other market-based programs already adopted by the state to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds.
The letter also says the EQB did not comply with the provision on the state Air Pollution Control Act to hold in-person public hearings in the regions impacted by the regulation before it can be adopted.
The act does not contain the words “in-person” and neither could it have anticipated a global pandemic that has so far killed 17,853 Pennnsylvanians. Consistent with Gov. Wolf’s Disaster Emergency Declaration, the Board held 10 virtual hearing sessions on the proposed regulations which were available in all areas of the state and provided three other methods of submitting public comment, including by postal mail.
So far, 26 members of the Senate and House have offered comments to the Independent Regulatory Review Committee on the proposed regulation-- 21 support the proposal and four oppose. Read more here.
The Environmental Quality Board public comment period on the regulation will end on January 14.
Visit DEP’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative webpage to learn more about the proposal.
Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) serves as Majority Chair of the House Environmental Committee and can be contacted by calling 717-783-1707 or sending email to: email@example.com. Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware) serves as Minority Chair and can be contacted by calling 717-787-7647 or sending email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
House Republican 2021 Environmental/Energy Agenda:
[Posted: January 12, 2021]
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