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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: June 16, 2014 08:51 AM
From: Representative Pam Snyder
To: All House members
Subject: PA Greenhouse Gas Regulation Implementation Act
In the very near future I intend to introduce legislation establishing the Pennsylvania Greenhouse Gas Regulation Implementation Act.

As you are all likely aware, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) recently announced the first ever regulation of carbon dioxide emissions for existing stationary sources (power plants).

Under the preliminary EPA rule, Pennsylvania is given an emissions target to meet by 2030 and will be able to write its own implementation plan on how best to meet those reductions. EPA’s rule gives the state some flexibility, which will be important if we are to preserve our coal-generation in the state, which provides for a reliable and economic source of energy.

Like me, I know that many of you are concerned about the impact of the new rule to our Commonwealth’s economy, which, if we do not properly manage the state plan, could result in disastrous consequences for our electric generation and coal extraction industries. Simply put, we cannot allow federal or state regulators the unilateral ability to make these terribly important decisions that will greatly influence our state.

As such, my legislation would require the PA Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) to develop a state plan and then, prior to sending the plan to the EPA, submit that plan to both chambers of the General Assembly for approval through a concurrent resolution process.

In short, my legislation would make clear that the people who were elected to govern Pennsylvania will have the final say on what happens - not unelected, unaccountable regulators. While EPA managed to develop this rule without Congressional authorization, the Pennsylvania General Assembly will be the final arbiter of how the Commonwealth approaches greenhouse gas regulation.

The legislation outlines what DEP must do in developing the plan, including holding public hearings in areas specifically affected by the regulation, and it includes specific considerations that DEP must take into account in developing the plan, including:

  • How best to avoid “stranded investments” in existing affected power plants.
  • The importance and necessity of having a diverse generation fleet to ensure electric reliability.
  • The requirement that the components of the state plan must be based on a least-cost compliance approach to help shield consumers from increases in the cost of electricity as a result of the EPA rule.

I see an urgent need for the members of the General Assembly to engage on this very important issue. We cannot allow federal government regulators to put hardworking men and women out of work, unnecessarily drive up electricity costs and/or destabilize the electric grid.

Please consider supporting this important legislation with me.

Introduced as HB2354