Comitta and McCarter introduce legislation to reduce carbon pollution from PA electric power sector at least 90% by 2040

HARRISBURG, Sept. 3 – State Rep. Carolyn Comitta, D-Chester, and state Rep. Stephen McCarter, D-Montgomery, announced today that they are introducing H.B. 2856, known as a cap-and-invest program.

“July was the hottest month ever recorded in Earth’s history, and the last five years have been the hottest on record,” Comitta said. “We are beyond the time of action. Amazon rainforests burn; polar ice caps melt faster every day; sea levels continue to rise and flood coastal cities across the US. We must do our part to fight global climate change and protect our environment and natural resources for future generations of Pennsylvanians. This includes improving our local air quality and, as a result, ensuring public health and well-being. It’s time Pennsylvania became an economic competitor for a clean energy future.”

“Because the federal government has abdicated its responsibility on climate change, it's up to the rest of us to take the lead in enacting equitable policies to mitigate the growing impacts of climate change,” McCarter said. “We must reach zero carbon emissions by 2050 to avoid its most devastating effects. Many of our neighboring states have already taken steps to combat climate change, and now we need to do our part to ensure a healthy planet moving forward."

The legislation would instruct the Environmental Quality Board to reduce carbon pollution emissions from the electric power sector -- the largest source of emissions in Pennsylvania -- by at least 90% by the year 2040, relative to baseline emissions. The board can develop a market-based carbon pollution limit, which ensures a technology neutral, flexible approach that incentivizes the most cost-effective emission reductions and generates revenue for investments in economic development, workforce training, energy efficiency, renewable energy and energy affordability.

The legislation would also enable the board to adopt ways to facilitate the deployment of zero-emissions technologies, assess the emission sources in the electric power sector that adversely affect disadvantaged communities, and work toward reductions in harmful air pollution affecting those communities, protecting against emissions leakage and joining programs aimed at the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Further, the bill would make sure that revenue generated from this program is directed toward similar programs that promote clean air, mitigate utility bill impacts and protect low-income consumers, increase energy efficiency, and assist workers and communities impacted by the closure of power plants or mines.

More information is available by contacting Comitta’s district office at 610-696-4990 or McCarter’s district office at 215-572-5210.