Struzzi Seeks Legislative Authorization Before Pennsylvania Imposes Carbon Taxes
HARRISBURG – During a state Capitol news press conference today Reps. James Struzzi (R-Indiana) Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion/Armstrong/Forest) and Pam Snyder (D-Greene/Fayette/Washington), along with Sens. Joe Pittman (R-Armstrong/Butler/Indiana/Westmoreland), Gene Yaw (R-Bradford/Lycoming/Sullivan/Susquehanna/Union) and David Argall (R-Berks/Schuylkill), officially introduced legislation that would require legislative authorization before Pennsylvania could impose a carbon tax on employers engaged in electric generation, manufacturing or other industries operating in the Commonwealth, or enter into any multi-state program, such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), that would impose such a tax (House Bill 2025 and Senate Bill 950).

“Any carbon tax will ultimately be paid for by Pennsylvania residents and businesses. Given Pennsylvania is already ahead of the carbon dioxide reduction goals established under the governor’s Climate Action Plan, why would we want to jeopardize thousands of Pennsylvania jobs and trigger significantly higher electricity rate increases when the existing competitive market has already achieved these gains?” said Struzzi. “This action would have serious ramifications on Pennsylvania businesses, jobs, energy prices and future economic opportunities that are not being considered by the governor. I am standing in firm opposition to any sort of carbon tax being placed on our energy producers, especially if that decision is made without legislative approval.”

On Oct. 3, the governor issued an executive order directing the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to commence RGGI regulations. RGGI would establish a regional cap on the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution that power plants can emit by establishing a trading system. Each unit of trade, known as an allowance, would represent authorization for a power plant to emit one short ton (2,000 lbs) of CO2. Power plants in RGGI member states can trade allowances, preventing the total amount of CO2 emissions in the region from increasing. RGGI would also establish a carbon tax on fossil fuel users for the resulting CO2 emissions.

“RGGI requires coal-fired power plants to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes and, as a result, will lead to the direct elimination of thousands of family-sustaining jobs in communities I represent,” said Snyder. “This is an extremely unfair tax burden that has clearly not proven to cut carbon emissions in the nine northeastern states that are currently participating in RGGI. A carbon tax is a major energy and fiscal policy initiative, and if such a tax is to be imposed on Pennsylvania industries, we believe it must emanate from the General Assembly.”

“The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative has major policy implications, not to mention potentially devastating consequences for our communities,” said Oberlander. “While the administration is unilaterally moving ahead with participating in this initiative, many of our colleagues have serious reservations about what this means for the areas we represent and the jobs that may be lost. That is why we are standing strong for our communities with this legislation.”

“In addition to the fiscal impact on Pennsylvania manufacturers, coal and gas electric generation, consumers and future economic investments made in our state, this also implicates serious constitutional principles of checks and balances that merit a strong, bipartisan response from the Legislature,” Struzzi continued.

Representative Jim Struzzi
62nd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

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