Sen. Yaw: Veto override needed to protect Pennsylvania from carbon tax

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State Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23) said the Senate needs to override Gov. Tom Wolf’s veto of a Senate resolution disapproving of the state’s entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative(RGGI).

Yaw, chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, said entry into the RGGI would be tantamount to putting a carbon tax on the state’s residents.

“RGGI will spell disaster for our state,” Yaw said. “The program’s de facto carbon tax levied on power producers will translate into electricity bills spiking by double digits, ballooning fuel costs and price increases on just about everything we use daily. Thousands of jobs will disappear. And zero carbon emissions will be removed from the atmosphere.”

Yaw noted that the state’s most vulnerable communities cannot afford the carbon tax, regardless of how much Wolf and the Department of Environmental Protection claimed RGGI would help them.

“Remember when the department said RGGI auction clearing prices wouldn’t crest above $3.00 per ton? RGGI’s most recent auction, completed on Dec. 1, set a clearing price of $13 per ton – more than four times the rate DEP forecasted and a 40% increase over the Sept. 8 auction clearing price alone,” Yaw said. “It’s a tax that will hit the poorest among us the hardest – and for the benefit of whom exactly?”

According to Yaw, the state’s emissions have already fallen by 38 percent since 2006, more than the other 12 states participating in RGGI. Additionally, he said, the state’s electricity rates come in 30 to 60 percent lower than those in RGGI states.

Additionally, entering RGGI would cost the state thousands of energy jobs and threaten the state’s position as a leader in natural gas production and energy exporting, Yaw said.

“The governor says his veto is reflective of a majority of Pennsylvanians who support his shortsighted climate actions,” Yaw said. “As if the 162 lawmakers who oppose RGGI weren’t also elected to represent the concerns of millions of Pennsylvanians who will ultimately pay the price for RGGI.”