Gov. Tom Wolf today vetoed and disapproved Senate Concurrent Regulatory Review Resolution 1, which would have disabled the commonwealth’s opportunity to enter the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and effectively achieve climate goals and reduce carbon emissions. Wolf said the concurrent resolution is procedurally defective, as the General Assembly failed to adopt it within the statutory timeframe prescribed in the Regulatory Review Act.
According to Wolf, Pennsylvania is facing a climate crisis and RGGI is a solution that would stimulate the economy to the tune of $2 billion while reducing harmful greenhouse gases. This is a plan that he said 72 percent of Pennsylvanians support. By reducing air pollution, it would improve public health with 30,000 fewer respiratory hospital visits.
RGGI is a cooperative, market-based effort among the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia to cap and reduce CO2 emissions from the power sector. It represents the first cap-and-invest regional initiative implemented in the United States.
“While the Republican-controlled General Assembly has failed to take any measures to address climate change, by joining RGGI, my administration will take a historic, proactive and progressive approach that will have significant positive environmental, public health and economic impacts,” said Wolf. “In addition to the environmental benefits, participating in this initiative will allow Pennsylvania to make targeted investments that will support workers and communities affected by energy transmission.
“With power generation being one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, joining RGGI is a commonsense solution that would have an immediate impact on Pennsylvania’s climate and public health.”
The Clean Air Council, a nonprofit environmental organization headquartered in Philadelphia, applauded Wolf’s veto.
“Pennsylvania’s participation in RGGI is projected to cut up to 227 million tons of carbon pollution from power plants this decade, while creating family-sustaining jobs, generating hundreds of millions of dollars annually for reinvestment in Pennsylvania communities, and delivering billions of dollars in public health benefits,” said Joseph Otis Minott, Esq., executive director and chief counsel of the Clean Air Council. “Because of the cynical and outrageous games played by state legislators in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s participation in RGGI has already been unacceptably delayed.
“Not only is SCRRR-1 wrong on the substance and rightfully deserving of a veto, it is also untimely and should be considered null and void. Pennsylvania’s Regulatory Review Act affords the legislature a clear, unambiguous period of time to vote to disapprove regulations, and the General Assembly missed their deadline to adopt SCRRR-1 by a mile.
“I thank Gov. Wolf for his leadership and urge the legislature to focus instead on making critical investments for the people of Pennsylvania.”