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Panel rejects carbon tax plan

An advisory panel that reviews the impact of state environmental policies on Pennsylvania’s small businesses opposed Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan for Pennsylvania to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative on Wednesday, according to Sen. Joe Pittman and State Rep. Jim Struzzi, R-Indiana.

Pennsylvania would be the only major energy producing state in the compact.

The Small Business Compliance Advisory Committee voted 4-3 in opposition to Pennsylvania joining RGGI. The SBCAC was established under the Pennsylvania Air Pollution Control Act to comment on Department of Environmental Protection policies, guidelines, and regulations that may impact small businesses.

Prior to the SBCAC vote on RGGI, Wolf’s proposal was rejected by the DEP’s Citizens Advisory Council and its Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee.

“This is the third time that a DEP advisory panel has rejected the governor’s proposal — and in this case it’s a committee that includes four Gubernatorial appointees,” Pittman said. “There is no support from any committee or advisory panel for this proposal.”

“I’m very happy and thankful to see the SBCAC’s decision to help protect Pennsylvania’s energy jobs. This industry is vital to Pennsylvania’s economy and the livelihoods of thousands of Pennsylvanians,” Struzzi said. “Given that Pennsylvania is already ahead of the carbon dioxide reduction goals established under the governor’s Climate Action Plan, why would we want to jeopardize thousands of Pennsylvania jobs and trigger significantly higher electricity rate increases when the existing competitive market has already achieved these gains?”

Struzzi is the prime sponsor of House Bill 2025, a measure approved by the House of Representatives on July 8 by a bipartisan vote of 130-71. The bill, which is now before Senate Environmental Resources & Energy Committee for consideration, would require the Department of Environmental Protection to provide a public comment period and receive approval from the General Assembly before entering RGGI.

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