Statement: PennEnvironment applauds Gov. Wolf veto of legislative attack on Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
PHILADELPHIA -- Today Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed legislation passed by the Pennsylvania General Assembly to prevent the state from joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), arguably one of the most successful programs for reducing climate pollution in the nation. House Bill 2025 would go much further than just keeping Pennsylvania out of RGGI: it would also fully revoke the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions -- the main contributor to the global climate crisis.
Through administrative action 11 months ago, Gov. Wolf announced that the commonwealth would become a member of RGGI. The program was established in 2009 and currently consists of 10 New England and Mid-Atlantic states. If Pennsylvania joins the program, it’s estimated that the commonwealth could reduce its carbon emissions by 180 million tons over its first decade in the program -- that’s equivalent to taking 35 million cars off the road.
The governor's veto took place a week after the state’s Environmental Quality Board (EQB) voted 13-6 in support of Gov. Wolf's proposal to join RGGI. EQB’s vote will trigger an upcoming public comment period and is a crucial step for codifying the commonwealth's joining RGGI.
PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center’s Executive Director David Masur issued the following statement in response to Gov. Wolf’s veto of House Bill 2025:
“We applaud Gov. Wolf for his veto of the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s misguided attack on climate solutions. RGGI enjoys the support of a bipartisan group of governors in the region, and this valuable program offers key mechanisms for reducing pollution and fighting climate change. Joining our neighboring states to the north, east and south in this alliance can create a healthier, more vibrant region with clean air that transcends borders.
“As the Western U.S. suffers through devastating wildfires, the Gulf Coast recovers from another hurricane, and after the Keystone state experienced a sweltering, record-hot summer, many Pennsylvanians are wondering how to fight the climate crisis here at home. Gov. Wolf is providing a bold answer. Given a choice between living in the past with dirty fuels or being on the right side of history, Gov. Wolf is showing he’s ready to protect our communities and future generations across the state.
“Still, the passage of HB2025 by the Pennsylvania General Assembly serves as a stark reminder that many politicians are lagging behind the science of climate change and the will of their constituents to solve this existential crisis. It's high time that politicians in Harrisburg come up with solutions to address climate change instead of continually putting up roadblocks to commonsense action.
"PennEnvironment applauds the Environmental Quality Board for giving RGGI the green light and Gov. Wolf for vetoing this rollback of climate protections. We're confident that the public comment period will show how broad and deep support runs for RGGI and for implementing solutions to address climate change."