Governor Wolf signs executive action to join Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Governor Tom Wolf taking executive action against climate change. He's instructing the Department of Environmental Protection to join an initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"We need to get serious right now about the climate crisis," said Governor Tom Wolf.

Wolf took executive action for Pennsylvania to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, also known as RGGI.

"That's a multi-state cap and trade program that has proven to be good for businesses, be good for consumers, and good for the environment," said Wolf.

Pennsylvania will join Maryland, Delaware, New York, Vermont, Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire.

The initiative sets a cap on CO2 emissions from electric power generators, like Brunner Island in York County. They will then have to purchase a credit for every ton of CO2 they're allowed to emit.

"It's essentially a carbon tax," said Rod Williamson, Industrial Energy Consumers of Pennsylvania Executive Director.

Williamson not only worries about the impact this initiative will have on larger energy user companies in the state, but also the average person. A study done by the CATO Institute found RGGI added $11 million a year to Delaware's electric bills.

"It's a cost that gets passed onto customers," said Williamson. He says companies in the energy industry are already dealing with added costs from the Alternative Energy Policy and the Mandatory Energy Efficiency Program.

"How many programs do we have to layer on top of each other in the state to achieve the goals of the carbon reductions," said Williamson.

House and Senate Republicans have criticized the governor's decisions to join RGGI using executive action.

However, The Sierra Club applauds the governor's step toward reducing carbon pollution.

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