HARRISBURG – Wednesday’s decision by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) to advance Gov. Tom Wolf’s effort to enroll Pennsylvania in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is, according to state Rep. Jim Struzzi (R-Indiana), yet another deaf ear turned to the residents of Indiana County.
Struzzi testified before IRRC Wednesday and issued the following statement in reiterating the devastating economic impact RGGI will have on Indiana countians in a number of areas:
“I am extremely disappointed and angered by this decision, as the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) misrepresented the facts today. For what it’s worth, two of the IRRC members saw through their ruse and voted against the proposal. DEP should be ashamed and the callousness and lack of empathy shown to the people of Indiana County during today’s hearing disgusts me. I will not stop fighting this as RGGI is bad for our region AND Pennsylvania in general. On top of that, this process moving forward during a pandemic and today a hurricane demonstrates the deaf ear this administration has turned to the voices and concerns of my constituents and our citizens.
“Let me clear – I challenge Gov. Tom Wolf and members of his cabinet to come to Indiana County and speak directly to the people who will be directly affected by RGGI. I’ve asked Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin to come face to face with the hard-working men and women who will lose their jobs when RGGI accelerates the closing of coal-fired power plants. Our county commissioners and chamber of commerce have invited the governor to pay us a visit and explain how these taxpayers will be retrained and reimbursed for the loss of income they will suffer. The secretary and governor have both refused to do so.
“Implementation of RGGI will require our residents to dig deeper and deeper into their wallets. The eventual closing of these power plants will raise property tax and energy bills. It will lead to job loss and employment shifts to neighboring states that can’t wait to take advantage. Pennsylvania will inevitably move from its status as the number one energy exporter in the country to an energy importer from neighboring states like Ohio and West Virginia…states that emit the very same carbons RGGI says it will reduce.
“Much of my frustration is based on the Wolf administration’s fear of and resistance to taking the RGGI proposal before the people of Pennsylvania AND their representatives in the General Assembly. This is NOT ‘what democracy is all about,’ as one of the members of IRRC said following the vote. If RGGI is put in place, Pennsylvania will be the ONLY state to bypass the state Legislature in doing so. That in itself should be a red flag. My legislation from last session that would have simply moved the proposal through the General Assembly passed with bipartisan support. This is NOT a political issue, it is a ‘people issue,’ and Gov. Wolf is ignoring the people who employ him.
“The four states in the country with the highest electric bills are all RGGI states. Coal is relied upon so heavily to generate electricity that removing it from our balanced energy portfolio will punch a huge hole in both household and statewide economies. We are ignoring the progress these coal-fired plants have made in addressing their environmental impact in favor of a feel-good effort by one man who is going to leave an indelible mark on his legacy.”
Representative Jim Struzzi
62nd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Scott Little
717.260.6137 (office), 717.497.5937 (cell)