On September 1, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced that the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) approved the regulation for Pennsylvania to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The development caps off a hard-fought bid to make Pennsylvania the first major fossil fuel state to adopt a carbon pricing policy, the centerpiece of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s plan to fight climate change.
“Today, Pennsylvania moved one step closer to assuring that its residents and visitors can live healthier lives,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Participating in RGGI will have immediate and lasting beneficial impacts on our communities.”
The plan to impose a price on carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants in Pennsylvania won a 3-2 party-line vote from the IRRC, a panel of gubernatorial and legislative appointees. The commission voted after nearly two years of Wolf Administration work on the regulation.
The vote allows Pennsylvania, through regulation, to join the multistate Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which sets a price and declining limits on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. By joining the consortium, “Pennsylvania is taking a historic, proactive and progressive approach that will have significant positive environmental, public health and economic impacts,” Wolf said in a statement after the vote.
Read about next steps here.