HARRISBURG – Legislation authored by state Rep. Jim Struzzi (R-Indiana) that would protect
workers and taxpayers from the threat posed by Gov. Tom Wolf’s desire to enroll Pennsylvania in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) was advanced to the state Senate today with support from both sides of the aisle in the state House.
Struzzi issued the following statement after bipartisan passage of the Energy Sustainability and Investment Act:
“Two years ago, Gov. Wolf vetoed my initial attempt to force RGGI to face a vote by the General Assembly despite bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. Much has happened since then. We’re now facing more than $4 a gallon gasoline, rising consumer prices and supply chain issues. The dramatic turn taken by the world’s economy has forced us to do several things. One of them is acknowledge the role Pennsylvania can and should be taking on the world stage when it comes to energy. House Bill 637 does that.
“Joining RGGI by executive order of our governor would make us the only state of 12 to have done so without legislative approval. It begs the question “Why?” and makes you wonder what has happened since Gov. Wolf declared four years ago that Pennsylvania was doing just fine reducing carbon emissions and there was no need to make a ‘symbolic gesture’ by joining a climate initiative.
“Pennsylvania is the third-largest state when it comes to electricity generation production and our country’s largest exporter of electricity. Our goal should be to maintain that prominent position and enrollment in RGGI threatens that status. House Bill 637, the Energy Sustainability and Investment Act, acknowledges Pennsylvania’s energy needs now and in the future. It recognizes our balanced energy portfolio and guards taxpayers’ wallets against a threat that will raise electric bills by 30% or more. It protects jobs that sustain families, communities, and local tax bases.
“Pennsylvania is already an energy powerhouse and could be an even greater one…if we are allowed to be. House Bill 637
calls for further exploration and diversification of our future energy needs but not without disregard for the environment. It invests in development of carbon dioxide and methane reduction technologies for electric generation and manufacturing, including use of riparian planting in supporting sewer and water infrastructure and storm water mitigation projects.
“Areas like Indiana County are already feeling the effects of RGGI’s potential. Plants are closing because of the threat posed by Gov. Wolf’s one-man crusade. While House Bill 637 would assist workers and communities impacted by electric generation or manufacturing plant closures, it also recognizes the reality of what we have now and how we use it. The role played by coal and natural gas in supplying our energy infrastructure cannot be ignored. Shuttering these plants would be like throwing a speeding car into reverse.
“Pennsylvania and Pennsylvanians simply cannot afford RGGI. The price would be paid in job losses, higher electric bills and access to - and even the availability of - affordable energy. The Energy Sustainability and Investment Act is a viable alternative and a plan for the future.”
Representative Jim Struzzi
62nd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives