RGGI revolt

Source: BY MATTHEW CHOI, Politico • Posted: Monday, March 28, 2022

Carbon market supporters and opponents will be watching the Keystone State over the next two weeks as Pennsylvania Republicans line up a slew of measures to block Gov. Tom Wolf’s efforts to enter the state into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

First, there’s Senate Bill 119, which would require legislative approval prior to Pennsylvania joining RGGI. That bill will get a vote in a House committee this afternoon. Remember: Wolf took executive action in 2019 to kick off a regulatory process to join RGGI. The Senate passed this bill last year with a veto-proof majority.

Another track to watch is House Bill 637, which will likely also see committee action this week. It’s similar to SB 119, but could include an amendment that would grant funding to carbon dioxide and methane mitigation projects, plugging oil and gas wells and assisting coal communities. Mark Szybist, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council and a RGGI supporter, told POLITICO’s Jordan Wolman that HB 637 is a “political bill” designed to put Democrats “in a hard place.”

Republicans are also pushing to override Wolf’s veto on their resolution formally disapproving RGGI. Both chambers passed that resolution just shy of the two-thirds majority that would be needed this time to override the veto. If Republicans can convince enough Democrats this time around and override the veto, the RGGI regulation will be officially killed. A veto override vote in the Senate is expected some time in the next two weeks.

Pennsylvania would be the first major fossil fuel state to join RGGI, which currently includes 11 states from Virginia to Maine. Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin is looking to take Virginia out of RGGI.