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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: June 4, 2021 02:21 PM
From: Representative Dianne Herrin
To: All House members
Subject: Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) Funding Program
The science is clear: A climate crisis is happening, it is caused by human activity, and the consequences of inaction will be severe.
According to Pennsylvania’s recently released 2021 Climate Impacts Assessment, average annual temperatures in the commonwealth will rise by 5.9°F by the middle of the century if we do not act, with significant implications for the overall economy, public health, environmental justice and equity, our agriculture, recreation, and tourism industries, our food and water supply, and the infrastructure we all depend on.
As warming increases, Pennsylvania is experiencing more frequent and extreme storms, intensifying the weather patterns that in recent years have brought unprecedented flooding and crop and property destruction to parts of the state that have never experienced this before. Simultaneously, heat waves have become increasingly common and will create particular health and economic risks for vulnerable populations, including environmental justice communities, the elderly, pregnant women, people with certain mental illnesses, outdoor workers, and those with cardiovascular conditions.
We recognize that the steps needed to address climate change pose an enormous challenge for communities and livelihoods that were formed on the traditional means of energy production, and which have powered the commonwealth for generations. Over the past decade, more than a dozen coal-fired power plants have closed in Pennsylvania due to the shifting economics of energy, and a rapid movement to natural gas generation. That shift has left communities across the state grappling with lost tax revenue and unemployment, and limited resources to promote economic development or provide workforce training and support.
To address these challenges, in the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that will reflect the Governor's proposed Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) funding program. This legislation will
make targeted investments to support workers and communities affected by energy transition, invest in environmental justice communities, and further strengthen Pennsylvania’s growing clean energy and commercial and industrial sectors.
This legislation creates several funds to disburse the $300 million or more in annual revenue that will be generated for Pennsylvania through future RGGI auctions:
  • 37.5% to the Energy Communities Trust Fund; 
  • 12.5% to the Environmental Justice Communities Trust Fund;
  • 46% to the Clean Air Fund divided as follows: 
    • 56% to the Greenhouse Gas Abatement, Energy Efficiency, Clean and Renewable Energy Investments Account, 
    • 44% to the Commercial and Industrial Energy Efficiency Account; and 
  • 4% for administration of the program.
By making these targeted investments, we can do our part to both address the existential threat of climate change while also ensuring that the communities and workers that formed the backbone of our existing energy economy are not left behind in the transition.

Please join me in cosponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as HB1565