Senator Pittman Questions DCED on Plans to Address Impacts of RGGI

Speaking at today’s (March 22) Senate Appropriations Committee budget hearing with the Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED), Senator Joe Pittman asked Secretary Dennis Davin to detail the Administration’s specific plans for replacing the jobs and local tax revenues that will be lost if the  Governor’s Carbon Tax proposal is implemented.

Senator Pittman said he’s repeatedly asked Administration officials over the past 19 months to reveal their plans, if any, to help workers and communities that would be devastated by the Governor’s edict that Pennsylvania join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

On October 3, 2019, Governor Wolf directed the Department of Environmental Protection to join RGGI — a collaboration of nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. The states (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont) set a cap on total Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions from electric power generators in their states. Power plants would be mandated to purchase a credit or “allowance” for each ton of CO2 they emit.

Since Pennsylvania would be the only state in the compact with a substantial number of coal or natural gas power energy production facilities, the Commonwealth would bear a substantial burden from this carbon tax. That, Senator Pittman said, would be a death knell to his local plants, which would destroy good-paying jobs. The resulting lost tax revenues would blast a major hole in local school district budgets.

In response to Senator Pittman’s questions, Secretary Davin cited general DCED programs and added that a closure of 14 power plants over the past 10 years in Pennsylvania were the result of market forces and not RGGI.

“I realize market forces are an issue in the closure of coal-fired power plants, but the point that I  have been trying to make for the past 19 months is that if the Governor implements his carbon tax, which is nine months away, it will prematurely close those power plants and we will not have the ability to get ahead of it as you suggest. I continue to ask for the plan and the outcomes, to replace these losses.

“If we are going to prematurely close them, give me a solar panel manufacturer, give me a windmill manufacturer, give me a cracker plant, give me a fertilizer plant. Give me real deal solutions to replace jobs that will be lost before market conditions will cause them to be lost.” Senator Pittman continued.

Click for video of Senator Pittman’s comments.

Contact:         Jeremy Dias      

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