HARRISBURG, PA / AGILITYPR.NEWS / July 30, 2020 / This morning, Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) introduced Senate Bill 15, known as the “Energy Transition and Recovery Act,” to complement the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) ongoing rulemaking process to cut carbon pollution from Pennsylvania power plants. DEP is currently drafting rules to establish a market-based, cap-and-invest program that will allow Pennsylvania to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) beginning in January 2022. SB 15 will direct DEP to review this program every three years and will require carbon emissions from Pennsylvania’s electric power sector be cut to net zero no later than 2050. SB 15 also makes critical investment decisions with the hundreds of millions of dollars this cap-and-invest program will generate annually in Pennsylvania. In addition to funding important renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, SB 15 also creates the Energy Transition Fund, which directs RGGI proceeds be invested in: bill assistance for low-income ratepayers; support for environmental justice communities; and support for workers and communities transitioning to a post-coal world.
Joseph Otis Minott, Esq., Executive Director and Chief Counsel of Clean Air Council, issued the following statement:
“I applaud Senator Costa for showing real leadership on this important issue. We’ve heard climate deniers whine that the legislature has somehow been cut out of the conversation on reducing carbon pollution. On the contrary, the General Assembly can and should play a constructive role to shape this process and ensure all Pennsylvanians share in the benefits of RGGI participation. In particular, with coal plants retiring over the last decade and the remaining few set to close with or without RGGI, SB 15 is actual proactive policy to ensure a just transition.
The electric power sector is responsible for roughly one-third of Pennsylvania’s greenhouse gas emissions, and our power plants emit more CO2 than those in all ten RGGI participating states combined. SB 15 will strengthen the ongoing regulatory process to have Pennsylvania participate in this thriving market-based program. Cutting carbon pollution to net-zero by mid-century is absolutely necessary, and this bill puts us on a glidepath to achieve that. SB 15 also makes critical investment decisions that serve a broad set of social and economic purposes, in addition to driving further emission reductions. Pennsylvania has a lot of work to do, but the Energy Transition and Recovery Act charts a path for the Commonwealth to recover and thrive for decades.”
Clean Air Council is a member- supported, non-profit environmental organization dedicated to protecting everyone's right to a healthy environment. The Council is headquartered in Philadelphia and works through public education, community advocacy, and government oversight to ensure enforcement of environmental laws. For more information, please visit www.cleanair.org.