Jun. 09, 2020

HARRISBURG – The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee today took action to advance Rep. Jim Struzzi’s (R-Indiana) House Bill 2025, which would require legislative authorization before Pennsylvania could impose a carbon tax on employers engaged in electric generation, manufacturing or other industries operating in the Commonwealth, or enter into any multi-state program, such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), that would impose such a tax.

This committee movement follows votes by the Citizens Advisory Council and the Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee – both within the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) – to recommend against the governor’s plans to join the initiative.

“This bill gives a voice back to the people by allowing those of us who represent them to have say in this process. Any carbon tax will ultimately be paid for by Pennsylvania residents and businesses. Given Pennsylvania is already ahead of the carbon dioxide reduction goals established under the governor’s Climate Action Plan, why would we want to jeopardize thousands of Pennsylvania jobs and trigger significantly higher electricity rate increases when the existing competitive market has already achieved these gains?” said Struzzi. “The action to enter RGGI would have serious ramifications on Pennsylvania businesses, jobs, energy prices and future economic opportunities that are not being considered by the governor. During these unprecedented times, when Pennsylvania’s economy has been severely hindered by the governor’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is not the time to enact policies that would cost us jobs. I am standing in firm opposition to any sort of carbon tax being placed on our energy producers, especially if that decision is made without legislative approval.”

On Oct. 3, 2019, the governor issued an executive order directing DEP to commence RGGI regulations. RGGI would establish a regional cap on the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution that power plants can emit by establishing a trading system. Each unit of trade, known as an allowance, would represent authorization for a power plant to emit one short ton (2,000 lbs) of CO2. Power plants in RGGI member states can trade allowances, preventing the total amount of CO2 emissions in the region from increasing. RGGI would also establish a carbon tax on fossil fuel users for the resulting CO2 emissions.

“In addition to the fiscal impact on Pennsylvania manufacturers, coal and gas electric generation, consumers and future economic investments made in our state, this also implicates serious constitutional principles of checks and balances that merit a strong, bipartisan response from the Legislature,” Struzzi continued.

“This legislation is a direct result of the governor’s ill-conceived executive order last fall to join (RGGI) – a move that would kill thousands of family-sustaining jobs in southwestern Pennsylvania and dramatically increase the cost of energy,” said Rep. Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion/Armstrong/Forest), who is also a prime sponsor of the bill . “At a time when our families and our economy are hurting, the last thing government should be doing is eliminating more jobs and making it more difficult for our families and seniors to make ends meet. This is an opportunity make sure our residents’ voices are heard.”

The bill has been sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Representative Jim Struzzi
62nd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Kevin DiGuiseppe
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