HARRISBURG − October 3, 2019 − State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) and state Representative Steve McCarter (D-154), co-chairs of the bipartisan, bicameral Climate Caucus, along with vice-chair state Representative Carolyn Comitta (D-156) offered praise for Governor Tom Wolf’s Executive Order this morning instructing the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). RGGI is a cooperative effort among nine states to cap and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through regulation or legislation.
“Pennsylvania joining RGGI allows yet another avenue for Pennsylvania to combat climate change while promoting economic innovation throughout the Commonwealth,” said Sen. Santarsiero.
“In recent years, Pennsylvania has been seriously outpaced by stronger energy standards in neighboring states like Maryland, which is already a RGGI member, and New Jersey, which soon will be,” said Rep. McCarter. “Joining RGGI is an important step in reducing our CO2 emissions, improving our energy profile, spurring innovation in the clean energy economy and creating green jobs.”
“I applaud Governor Wolf for his leadership,” said Rep. Comitta. “We must take strong action to stop climate change and shape a healthy future for our children. Joining RGGI, positions Pennsylvania to protect our children’s future while strengthening our economy.”
The states currently participating in the RGGI program have reduced power sector CO2 pollution by 45% since its launch in 2005, while the per-capita gross domestic product of the region continues to rise.
Senator Santarsiero joined Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa, Jr. (D-43) in sponsoring SB 15, a legislative option for Pennsylvania to participate in RGGI. Reps. McCarter and Comitta have sponsored companion legislation in the House.
“Additionally, it is my hope that the Environmental Quality Board would require a portion of the profit gained following Pennsylvania’s participation in RGGI to go to supporting renewable energy technology in the Commonwealth,” Sen. Santarsiero continued. “My bi-partisan legislation, SB 600, would expand the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act (AEPS) and set Pennsylvania’s renewable energy standard to 30% by 2030. It’s vitally important that we incentivize true renewables, especially solar. This legislation, when paired with RGGI, will create a more sustainable Pennsylvania for future generations, while allowing the Commonwealth to grow economically.”
“Here in Pennsylvania and across the globe, every industry, every project and every sector will be impacted by climate change,” said Rep. McCarter, who also sponsored, with Rep. Comitta, companion legislation in the House to expand the AEPS Act. “It will require our creativity and dedication to assure communities and workers impacted that they will not be left behind to suffer the ravages of change while others benefit. This is a challenge the commonwealth took further steps to meet today.”
A link to Senator Santarsiero’s legislation, SB 600, can be found here.
A link to Representatives McCarter and Comitta’s legislation, HB 1195, can be found here.
A link to Governor Wolf’s Executive Order can be found here.