Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)
November 21, 2023
HARRISBURG – Following the announcement by the Shapiro Administration that it will be appealing the order of the Commonwealth Court to reverse Pennsylvania’s entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the Clean Power PA coalition made the following statement:
“We are pleased with Governor Shapiro's decision to appeal the Commonwealth Court decision regarding Pennsylvania's entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Governor Shapiro has maintained that a clean energy plan for Pennsylvania must meet his comprehensive test to 1. protect and create energy jobs; 2. take real action to address climate change; and 3. ensure reliable, affordable power for consumers in the long term. The Governor also convened a diverse RGGI Working Group – following through on his campaign promise to hear from more stakeholders – and that Working Group came to an agreement on the vital need for Pennsylvania to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and a consensus that the best approach for doing so is a market-based power sector carbon pollution cap-and-invest program that generates revenue to support the Commonwealth’s energy transition. RGGI is the obvious vehicle to meet all the criteria that Governor Shapiro has laid out while advancing the unanimous priorities of the RGGI Working Group.
The Commonwealth Court's decision was misguided, and we believe the state Supreme Court will reverse the order. Some members of the state legislature have spent years and considerable taxpayer dollars obstructing RGGI while doing nothing to aid their own constituents already dealing with energy transition. It’s time for these legislators to genuinely engage in a conversation about positioning Pennsylvania as a leader in the energy economy of the future, and for them to embrace the long-term economic opportunities that joining to RGGI will present for their constituents."
November 1, 2023. The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled that the money raised through RGGI is an invalid tax and not a fee. This means that Pennsylvania cannot participate in RGGI until the state legislature allows RGGI to join the 11 other East Coast states in this highly successful program that reduces carbon dioxide pollution from fossil fuel-fired power plants and generates billions of dollars for participating states. Unfortunately, given the current makeup of the Pennsylvania State legislature, it is unlikely that RGGI will proceed forward through this route.
What’s next in our advocacy efforts to support Pennsylvania’s implementation of RGGI?
TAKE ACTION TODAY
Deadline to take action: December 1, 2023
We have less than 30 days (until December 1, 2023) to petition Governor Shapiro and the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to appeal the Commonwealth Court's ruling to the state Supreme Court, and to demand that our RGGI case be heard in the highest court in Pennsylvania.
RGGI does, in fact, meet Governor Shapiro’s three-part test for an energy policy that his Administration would support—by:
Protecting and creating energy jobs
Taking real action to address climate change
Ensuring reliable, affordable power for consumers in the long term
We argue that the money raised through RGGI is most definitely a fee, given the high cost of the climate crisis caused in large part from greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from fossil fuel-fired power plants. Polluters need to pay for the harm they cause, which makes the allowance revenue from RGGI a fee, not a tax.
A coalition of 33 organizations, including our Chapter, delivered the below letter to the governor urging him to vigorously defend RGGI in the courts, including appealing the Commonwealth Court decision, and to immediately launch a process to develop a comprehensive plan for the equitable allocation of RGGI proceeds.
RGGI is a proven market-based cap and invest program, where RGGI proceeds could be used to reduce air pollution, improve energy efficiency, provide for fossil fuel worker transitions, work toward environmental justice, and more.
RGGI reduces GHG emissions by capping the amount of CO2 that fossil fuel-fired power plants can emit, and then decreases that amount every year. A new report by the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania and Resources for the Future (RFF) found that RGGI implementation would lower Pennsylvania’s GHG emissions, add to the state’s revenue, and have little impact on electric utility bills.
RGGI will provide the much-needed revenue to adapt to climate changes in our state. This recent report by The Center for Climate Integrity, Resilient Analytics, and Scioto Analysis shows that it will cost Pennsylvania $15 billion in climate adaptation through 2040—additional costs that we all will bear. Pennsylvania has already lost over $1.5 billion in projected RGGI auction revenue since DEP’s announcement on April 22, 2022, when Pennsylvania entered the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) (as published in the official PA Bulletin.
Our journey in support of RGGI
Our chapter members have been advocating in support of Pennsylvania (PA) joining to RGGI since preparing for the RGGI public hearings on December 8-14, 2020, held by the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Environmental Quality Board, where at least 16 members presented verbal testimony over the span of the ten hearing sessions during those five days. We joined forces with and learned from numerous other organizations, individuals, and businesses in support of this multi-state regional program that requires fossil fueled-fired power plants to pay for the carbon dioxide gas pollution they emit into our precious life-sustaining atmosphere.
Throughout the RGGI rulemaking process, we wrote and submitted petitions to oppose anti-RGGI bills such as SB 119, HB 637; joined our allies in state-wide organizational petitions in support of the RGGI Investments Act that allows expanded uses for RGGI program revenue to benefit communities; followed the PA legislative votes on RGGI-related bills including the RGGI Disapproval Resolution (to block RGGI); talked with and wrote to our state legislators; submitted Letters to the Editor at various media outlets; educated our families, friends, and communities on the significance of PA joining RGGI; formally joined the RGGI Workgroup of the Clean Power PA Coalition; rallied in support of RGGI in Philadelphia’s Love Park; and much more!
We were cautiously elated when on April 23, 2022, Pennsylvania became the 12th member state of RGGI (as published in the PA Bulletin)—knowing that the fossil fuel industrial complex was expending an exorbitant amount of time, individuals, and disinformation to lobby against RGGI.
RGGI opponents are still fighting RGGI with lawsuits, preventing Pennsylvania from participating in the quarterly RGGI revenue-generating regional auctions. Consequently, Pennsylvania’s RGGI program, is being blocked from generating over $1 billion in state revenue, and we continue to miss out on this incredible opportunity to benefit Pennsylvanians’ health, workforce development, clean renewable energy expansion, improved air quality and health, and so much more.
Join us to support Pennsylvania’s implementation of its Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) Program!
Clean Power PA Coalition on the RGGI Working Group Conclusions
HARRISBURG – (September 29, 2023) – The Clean Power PA Coalition released the following statement after reports of Governor Shapiro’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) Working Group conclusions:
“The Clean Power PA Coalition is pleased to see that Governor Shapiro’s RGGI Working Group came to an agreement on the vital need for Pennsylvania to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, and we support its consensus that the best approach for doing so is a market-based power sector carbon pollution cap-and-invest program that generates revenue to support the Commonwealth’s energy transition.
“RGGI is the obvious vehicle to advance the unanimous priorities of the working group. The working group’s conclusions align with how RGGI has worked successfully in numerous neighboring states.
“RGGI is the most effective path forward to meet Governor Shapiro’s test for a plan to protect and create energy jobs; take real action to address climate change; and ensure reliable, affordable power for consumers in the long term. Pennsylvania must stay the course on RGGI. RGGI’s adoption in Pennsylvania followed an exhaustive, two-year process that included extensive public comment and participation from business groups, public health advocates, environmental groups, faith organizations, frontline communities, and consumers. The overwhelmingly positive citizen input from thousands of Pennsylvanians throughout the process demonstrated strong popular support for this vital program. RGGI must remain the law of Pennsylvania, and it must continue to be defended before the courts, especially as the governor considers additional measures.”
The Clean Power PA Coalition is a group of clean energy, business, faith, and community leaders committed to protecting Pennsylvania’s environment and powering its economy through clean energy.
View the virtual press conference here.
RGGI Working Group Concludes its Work, Co-Chairs Hail Collaborative Process that Brought Diverse Group Together & Reached Consensus on a Number of Key Issues
September 29, 2023
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)
Pennsylvania made a huge leap forward in combating climate change when it entered RGGI on April 23, 2022.
Join Us to Take Action!
RGGI is the right choice for Pennsylvania
By joining RGGI, we can:
Cut carbon pollution by 25%
Create 27,000 jobs for Pennsylvanians
Reduce energy bills for everyday Pennsylvanians
Mitigate the environmental health harms disproportionately impacting disadvantaged communities
Despite all this, lawmakers continue to stand in the way and impede progress.
Email your representative now and tell them RGGI is the right choice for Pennsylvania. Remember, personalized messages multiply your impact, so make the email your own!
Elected Leaders Joined Citizens at Love Park in Support of Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)
PHILADELPHIA – Elected officials joined constituents and advocates following a Commonwealth Court hearing on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to show support for the program that would cut carbon pollution and generate proceeds to be used for clean energy investments across the Commonwealth.
Research by the Pennsylvania DEP shows that joining to RGGI would slash dangerous carbon pollution, make investments to reduce energy costs, and create 30,000 Pennsylvania jobs. The continued delay and obstruction, which continues with the Commonwealth Court hearing held earlier in the day on November 16, 2022, will cost Pennsylvania close to a billion dollars in RGGI proceeds by the end of the year.
Speakers discussed the reason why Pennsylvanians are ready for the Commonwealth to formally begin participating in RGGI and how it will make for a healthier environment for Pennsylvania kids and growth in family-sustaining, clean energy jobs for our communities.
SPEAKERS: State Senator Nikil Saval, State Senator Amanda Cappelletti, City of Philadelphia Councilmember, At Large, Kendra Brooks, Brooke Petry (Organizer, Moms Clean Air Force), and Bishop Dwayne Royster, (Executive Director, POWER Interfaith)
WHAT: Gathering / press conference in support of Pennsylvania joining to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)
WHEN: Wednesday Nov. 16, 2022 | 11:00 am
WHERE: LOVE Park, Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Participants gathered to unveil a large “RGGI” sign in LOVE park modeled after the famous LOVE sculpture as the event began.
Listen to the Speakers here:
What is RGGI?
RGGI is a market-driven, cap-and-invest program to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and uses the money generated to reduce air pollution, improve energy efficiency, provide for fossil fuel worker transitions, and work toward environmental justice, and more.
Learn More about RGGI
Watch the webinar March 23, 2022:
Support Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
Pennsylvania has joined 11 other states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a cap and invest market driven approach to reducing carbon emissions. It works by imposing a fee on power plants to penalize carbon pollution and then using that money accrued by individual states to pay for state climate change reduction efforts. RGGI has a more than 10-year proven track record of reducing CO2 emissions and significantly improving the lives of the people in its member states. RGGI will benefit all Pennsylvanians by improving the air quality and therefore our health, reducing the effects of climate change that we currently already struggle to grapple with, and bringing 21st century jobs to our Commonwealth.
RGGI is currently under legal threat from lawsuits from the fossil-fuel lobby. Please spread the word about the benefits of RGGI by writing to your state legislators and submitting letters to the editor to your local papers.
RGGI IS UNDER LEGAL THREAT.
TAKE ACTION TODAY!
Have a few extra minutes?
Here are some resources to help you advocate for RGGI by writing a letter to the editor and / or call your state legislators:
Learn more about RGGI by using this comprehensive updated list of resources including links to the final form of PA’s RGGI Rulemaking, studies, past legislative votes, newspaper articles, and more!
Writing Letters to the Editor (LTE):
Read our Letters to the Editor
Path to a greener future.
The Ambler Gazette.
By Julia Nakhleh
Greenhouse gas initiative will help everyone in state.
By Julia Nakhleh
Pa.’s adoption of RGGI long overdue.
The Philadelphia Inquirer.
By Richard Cole
The Philadelphia Inquirer.
By Julia Nakhleh