July 24 (EIRNS)—A fight is happening in Pennsylvania between Gov. Tom Wolf (D) and members of the state legislature opposed to further destruction of the state’s physical economy. In October 2019 Wolf proudly announced that he was planning to use executive action to bring Pennsylvania into an alliance of states called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) which currently includes 11 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia. RGGI is a typical green “cap and trade” swindle which forces power and industrial plants to pay a carbon tax for each ton of carbon dioxide produced. The revenue from this carbon tax is then channeled into wind, solar and other “sustainable” projects.
Under insane energy deregulation policies beginning back in 1996 under Gov. Tom Ridge, Pennsylvania—a coal producing state—has lost 19 coal-fired power plants which have been shut down or converted to natural gas. Since 2014, electricity produced from coal has gone from 39% to 12%, while natural gas has gone from 24% to 51% and “renewables” from less than 1% to 5%.
RGGI would effectively shut down Pennsylvania’s remaining coal-fired plants and destroy its already-decimated coal industry (currently third largest in the nation). With that as backdrop, state legislators decided to take a stand.
In April of this year, 28 Senate Republicans signed a letter accusing Governor Wolf of “subversion of the constitutional process” by brazenly using executive action to unilaterally bring Pennsylvania into the RGGI without legislative approval, and threatened to reject all of his future nominees for the state Public Utilities Commission unless he backed off. In June, a bill introduced by State Sen. Joe Pittman (R), from Western Pennsylvania, SB-119 was passed by a veto-proof margin of 35-15 (6 Democrats voted with the Republicans), that would prohibit Pennsylvania from joining the RGGI without legislative approval. A companion bill in the House, HB-637, was introduced with 29 sponsors, including 3 Democrats, but was not acted on because of the summer recess. Wolf took advantage of this delay to move the RGGI agenda forward.
On July 13, the Environmental Equality Board voted 15-4 to finalize rules for Pennsylvania’s inclusion in the RGGI. The state legislature doesn’t reconvene until Sept. 20. As could be expected, the mainstream media and every wacked-out greenie organization in the state is mobilizing for the RGGI. The point group for the greenies is PennEnvironment which is part of a nationwide umbrella group called the Public Interest Network. On the other side, fighting against the RGGI is the Power PA Jobs Alliance which is a coalition of labor, industry and consumer groups.
A May 25 press conference/rally in Pittsburgh, organized by the Alliance to mobilize the population, brought together Republican and Democratic State legislators, trade unionists and representative of a leading energy company all outspoken in exposing the RGGI fraud and the devastating effects on jobs, the tax base and the general well being of the Pennsylvania population, were it to be implemented.
The Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association, part of the Power PA Jobs Alliance, put out a good statement supporting SB-119, “PMA Applauds Senate Passage of SB 119” (https://www.pamanufacturers.org/blog/pma-applauds-senate-passage-sb-119) [gkg]