HARRISBURG – Upon the closing of the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board’s (EQB) open public comment period on a proposal for Pennsylvania to link to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the Clean Power PA coalition made the following statement:
“The public comments received by the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) demonstrate the strong support across the state for the proposal for Pennsylvania to link to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (CO2 Budget Trading Program Regulations – 50 Pa.B. 6212). The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the EQB held a safe and accessible public comment process that allowed citizens to submit comments via email, online form, mail, or during one of ten virtual public hearings spanning over 30 hours of testimony in December. The hearings, in particular, provided convenient opportunities for Pennsylvanians to publicly make their voices heard on this important program to cut pollution and create jobs, and more than 95 percent of the nearly 500 speakers at those public hearings expressed their support for Pennsylvania to participate in RGGI. The many other vehicles for communication ensured all Pennsylvanians who desired to comment on the proposed rule would have a chance to do so.
“In the end, the overwhelming sentiment was that Pennsylvanians of all walks of life support Pennsylvania participating in RGGI. Outside the virtual hearings, tens of thousands of commenters voiced their support for the proposal. Business people, faith leaders, conservationists, farmers, climate experts, health professionals, frontline community leaders, and legislators and other elected officials testified or commented in support of RGGI during the public comment period. (Representative quotes from the diverse group of Pennsylvanians speaking at the hearings can be found here.)
“RGGI is a market-based collaboration among 10 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while generating economic growth. The proposal from DEP limits harmful carbon pollution from power plants. Companies operating polluting plants must purchase carbon dioxide allowances equal to the amount of pollution they emit. The revenue from the purchase of these allowances is made available for reinvestment in clean energy and other uses to create Pennsylvania jobs and further improve air quality. The DEP estimates that from 2022 to 2030, RGGI would increase the Gross State Product by nearly $2 billion and create more than 27,000 jobs in the state.
“DEP will now review all comments and draft a formal comment and response document. This document then becomes part of the package for the final regulation. The formal comment and response document will be distributed to the EQB and available publicly prior to the EQB meeting when the final rulemaking will be considered.”
The Clean Power PA Coalition is a group of clean energy, business, faith, and community leaders committed to protecting Pennsylvania’s environment and powering its economy through clean energy.