The Pennsylvania General Assembly is planning to vote on a crucial measure to keep the commonwealth out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, otherwise known as RGGI.
RGGI is an existing multi-state partnership that some in our state want Pennsylvania to join. The partnership creates a cap on the amount of energy that any power plant in Pennsylvania can generate and imposes a carbon tax on emissions produced by that facility. Some environmental activists have hailed the partnership, believing that it will help reduce carbon emissions and halt climate change.
The reality is that isn’t true. The energy needs of Pennsylvanians don’t change under RGGI. The power your house needs to keep lights on, power appliances, and devices — that doesn’t decrease.
What does change is that Pennsylvania power plants can no longer provide you with all the energy you need. As a result, businesses and residents would have to depend on energy being imported from other states to fully power PA. The costs of buying that energy from another state and the new carbon tax will drive up energy bills. Just like Philadelphia’s soda tax, a new carbon tax will also pass its fees onto customers.
John Bland, the Business Manager of the Boilermakers Local 13 in Philadelphia stated, “The only people harmed more than organized labor by RGGI are poor and senior households, including our retirees, who will be faced with massive electric rate increases caused by the RGGI Carbon Tax on our electricity and will realize none of the alleged benefits.”
Worst of all, RGGI doesn’t create any real environmental benefits. The energy Pennsylvanians use is still the same, it’s just purchased outside of the state. The increasing cost to residents and businesses to purchase energy with no real public benefit caused Virginia’s Governor-Elect to recently announce he’ll be withdrawing from RGGI.
The RGGI Partnership will also cause larger power plants that can’t financially sustain themselves under the cap to shut down, costing Pennsylvania thousands of good-paying, union, energy-sector jobs.
And even worse, the prices of manufactured goods in the Commonwealth will also increase. “By entering RGGI, energy prices for PA’s manufacturers will increase, and that means consumers already dealing with inflation will see even higher prices on consumer goods,” said Carl A. Marrara, the Vice President of Government Affairs for the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association and member of the Power PA Jobs Alliance.
Our state legislature faces a critical choice with approving Senate Concurrent Regulatory Review #1 (SCRRR1), which keeps PA out of RGGI, keeps our energy costs down and protects good-paying union jobs. It’s time to let our Representatives know, let’s keep the lights on that Power PA Jobs and keep our energy bills affordable.
Power PA Jobs Alliance is a coalition of labor, management and consumers opposed to PA carbon taxes in electric generation, manufacturing and motor fuels.