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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: September 3, 2019 01:01 PM
From: Representative Carolyn T. Comitta and Rep. Stephen McCarter
To: All House members
Subject: Cap and Invest
This July was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth and the last five years are the hottest ever recorded. The amazon rainforest is currently burning at an alarming rate. The polar ice cap is disappearing faster every day causing rising sea levels and flooding in coastal cities in the US and around the globe. It is past time to act. That is why we are introducing legislation that will continually reduce carbon pollution from Pennsylvania’s power sector to fight global climate change, safeguard the well-being of current and future generations of Pennsylvanians, improve local air quality, and ensure that Pennsylvania is economically competitive in a clean energy future.

The federal government has abdicated responsibility on climate change— states, local governments, private companies and citizens must take the lead in enacting equitable policies to mitigate the growing impacts of climate change. We need to reach zero carbon emissions by 2050 if we want to avoid the most devastating effects of climate change. Many other states that we share a border with have already taken steps to combat climate change. We need to do our part. The citizens of Pennsylvania have had enough inaction and are depending on us to act to save our planet and save our children’s future.

Our legislation will instruct the Environmental Quality Board to reduce carbon pollution emissions from the electric power sector – the largest source of emissions in Pennsylvania – by at least 90% by 2040 relative to baseline emissions. The board can develop a market-based carbon pollution limit, which ensures a technology neutral, flexible approach that incentivizes the most cost-effective emission reductions and generates revenue for investments in economic development, workforce training, energy efficiency, renewable energy and energy affordability. This will be known as a cap and invest program.

The legislation also enables the board to adopt mechanisms that facilitate deployment of zero—emissions technologies, measures that provide for ongoing assessment of emission sources in the electric power sector that adversely affect disadvantaged communities and for reductions in harmful air pollution affecting the communities, protect against emissions leakage, and join one or more multijurisdictional programs for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Further, the bill provides that revenue generated from the program be directed towards programs that promote clean air, mitigate utility bill impacts and protect low-income consumers, increase energy efficiency, and assist workers and communities impacted by the closure of power plants or mines.

The right to clean air and water is in the Pennsylvania Constitution. We all took an oath to protect natural resources for future generations. It’s time to put action behind those words. It is the number one job of adults to protect children. It is imperative that we act now to save our planet and protect of children’s future. Please co-sponsor this important legislation and help get it to the Governor’s desk. Our children and grandchildren are counting on us.

Introduced as HB2856