Congress members express concern over RGGI

© Shutterstock

A group of four Republican lawmakers recently sent a letter to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission expressing serious concerns about Environmental Quality Board (EQB) Regulation #7-559, proposed regulation regarding the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

The EQB and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) lack the constitutional and statutory authority to enter Pennsylvania into the RGGI, the letter said.

The Congress members listed several concerns.

Any revenue generated from the RGGI auction is a tax and not a fee, and the General Assembly holds the sole power to levy taxes.

There are no federal or state mandates requiring the capping and taxing of carbon dioxide emissions from electric generation units; therefore, the EQB and DEP have no statutory authority to enter into the RGGI without approval from the General Assembly.

Coal-fired power plants would be eliminated if the RGGI regulation is enacted, according to
DEP modeling.

Jobs would be lost statewide, electric prices will rise significantly, and communities would be negatively impacted by power plant closures.

State Sens. Jake Corman (R-Centre/Mifflin/Huntingdon/Juniata), Senate president pro tempore; and Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland), Senate majority leader; and state Reps. Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin), House majority leader; and Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster), speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representative, signed the letter.