Snyder part of bipartisan effort to urge Governor Wolf to withdraw RGGI order

CARMICHAELS, May 7 – State Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, joined 58 of her colleagues in the House, urging Gov. Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to suspend the state’s efforts to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Late last year, Snyder joined several colleagues to support a measure that would require the state to receive legislative approval before it could formally enter RGGI, which requires any carbon-producing power plan to purchase allowances in order to continue operation. At the time, Snyder said RGGI would create an unfair tax burden, cause detrimental economic impacts in her district, and result in the loss of thousands of jobs.

“As of today, DEP has not met with plant owners or unions representing workers who will lose their jobs if we join RGGI,” Snyder said. “The governor had promised strong public outreach, but nothing, outside of DEP doing the bare minimum outreach required by law, has occurred. He and DEP must understand that joining RGGI could have devastating effects on our state and could actually raise electricity rates across Pennsylvania. Right now, with the current pandemic, is not the time to be considering joining and I am asking Governor Wolf to please reconsider joining.”

The letter highlighted the following factors in urging the governor to rescind the executive order:

  • DEP just published the RGGI modeling data, which demonstrated the following:
    • The data relies on assumptions in place prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impacts.
    • RGGI will trigger the near immediate (and certainly premature) closure of every coal and many less-efficient gas plants in the state. In 2022, the first year of RGGI, DEP modeling projects an 89% decline in coal-fired generation.
    • Modeling conclusions did not consider any of the economic fallout associated with these plant closures, including supply chain, contract jobs, school districts and local governments.
    • In 2030, carbon dioxide emissions in Pennsylvania will be comparable with or without Pennsylvania joining RGGI.

Snyder added that the only public outreach from DEP to date has been through a virtual format and limited to its advisory committees. During last week's meeting, DEP prohibited any public comment.

"It is imperative that we, the legislature and the public, must be involved. A carbon tax is a major energy and fiscal policy initiative. My region would be among those that would be adversely and directly impacted by RGGI, leading energy companies to pay millions in taxes and lead to those jobs going to other states, which would be beyond devastating, especially now during this pandemic.”

A copy of the letter can be found at this link: https://pahouse.com/files/Documents/2020-05-07_102521__RGGI%20letter%205%202020.pdf.