Op-Ed: Pennsylvanians Can’t Afford Wolf’s Unilateral Decision to Join RGGI

There is a train blazing down the tracks headed straight for your wallet. Gov. Tom Wolf set this train – known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) – in motion, full speed ahead.

RGGI is a multi-state compact that places a tax on every ton of CO2 emissions from electricity producers. That tax is being paid by us, the ratepayers, in higher electric bills. RGGI takes that tax money and gives it to alternative energy companies. The goal of this compact is to reduce CO2 output and climate change.

However, charging us more for energy, putting our people out of work and shutting down our power plants here in Pennsylvania will have no effect on the hurricanes that hit the southern coastline.

As a matter of fact, our CO2 output levels from energy production have already dropped 32.9% from 2005 to 2016, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, without us paying much higher energy bills.

Pennsylvania is an energy exporter, generating and selling power to other states. The commonwealth will be the ONLY state that enters this compact WITHOUT legislative approval. All other RGGI state legislatures have voted according to the will of their people to enter the compact. And, these 11 states are importers of energy, thereby making the impact of rate increases less than the increase in Pennsylvania.

Last week, the state Senate voted to disapprove a regulation by the state Environmental Quality Board (EQB) to have Pennsylvania join RGGI. It was an important step in the General Assembly’s fight against the governor’s unilateral decision to join RGGI in 2019.

The commonwealth has wonderful outdoor spaces and experiences, and we can maintain this beauty while also keeping our economy running and growing with the energy we produce. There is a balance we can maintain to achieve both.

We should always be looking for better ways to generate our energy, but not on the backs of ratepayers. Regular market forces will allow the cream to rise to the top. Unelected bureaucrats should not be picking the winners and the losers with our hard-earned money, nor should they shut down our power plants and coal mines.

Call the governor, send me an email at pstefano@pasen.gov and voice your opposition to this proposal. We must push back against this dictatorship administration.

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