HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Wolf’s climate scheme moved one step closer to reality Monday with his swift, albeit expected, veto of a Senate resolution disapproving Pennsylvania’s entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), according to Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Chair, Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23).
“RGGI will spell disaster for our state,” Sen. Yaw said. “The program’s de facto carbon tax levied on power producers will translate into electricity bills spiking by double digits, ballooning fuel costs and price increases on just about everything we use daily. Thousands of jobs will disappear. And zero carbon emissions will be removed from the atmosphere.”
Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable communities can’t afford Wolf’s carbon tax, no matter how much he or the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) claim RGGI will help them.
“Remember when the department said RGGI auction clearing prices wouldn’t crest above $3.00 per ton? RGGI’s most recent auction, completed on Dec. 1, set a clearing price of $13 per ton – more than four times the rate DEP forecasted and a 40% increase over the Sept. 8 auction clearing price alone,” Sen. Yaw said. “It’s a tax that will hit the poorest among us the hardest – and for the benefit of whom exactly?”
Wolf’s administration said RGGI will usher in thousands of jobs, but pays no mind to the thousands more the program will cost us. Pennsylvania, the nation’s second leading natural gas producer and a top energy exporter, remains an ideal place for companies to invest and create jobs.
That’s exactly why New York-based National Fuel Gas is considering moving its headquarters to Erie. Or why the Texas-based Nacero will build a $6 billion plant in Luzerne County to convert natural gas into a form of gasoline that produces zero sulfur and 50% fewer carbon dioxide emissions. The company also promises it will create 450 permanent skilled manufacturing jobs that pay annual salaries of about $85,000.
“The governor says his veto is reflective of a majority of Pennsylvanians who support his shortsighted climate actions,” Sen. Yaw said. “As if the 162 lawmakers who oppose RGGI weren’t also elected to represent the concerns of millions of Pennsylvanians who will ultimately pay the price for RGGI.”
Eleven of the 12 states participating in RGGI sought legislative approval to do so. The administration knowingly skirted the General Assembly and violated the constitution to levy this tax without the input of the elected officials chosen by voters to represent their interests.
“The General Assembly must act swiftly to override this veto and protect residents from the havoc RGGI will wreak on their wallets and lives,” Sen. Yaw said.
Pennsylvania emissions have been reduced by 38% since 2006 without RGGI – more than all the 12 participating states combined. Moreover, our electricity rates come in 30% to 60% lower than those in RGGI states.
Without Pennsylvania’s robust natural gas industry, the RGGI states would struggle to achieve their purported air quality benefits. In fact, New York City reduced its emissions 23%, from 2006 levels, thanks to clean burning natural gas produced in Pennsylvania.
“Why don’t we support and emphasize the great environmental achievements which have already taken place in our own state?” Sen. Yaw asked. “Why don’t we act like the leader that we are, instead of a follower?”
CONACT: Nick Troutman, Chief of Staff, 717-787-3280