PRINTER'S NO. 1404
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
950
Session of
2019
INTRODUCED BY PITTMAN, YAW, ARGALL, MARTIN, MASTRIANO, GORDNER,
LANGERHOLC, K. WARD, STEFANO, J. WARD, BAKER, PHILLIPS-HILL,
SCAVELLO, BROOKS, MENSCH, BARTOLOTTA, REGAN, BROWNE,
HUTCHINSON AND VOGEL, NOVEMBER 20, 2019
REFERRED TO ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY,
NOVEMBER 20, 2019
AN ACT
Authorizing the Department of Environmental Protection to
conduct a public comment process on and submit to the General
Assembly a measure or action intended to abate, control or
limit carbon dioxide emissions by imposing a revenue-
generating tax or fee on carbon dioxide emissions.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Short title.
This act shall be known and may be cited as the Pennsylvania
Carbon Dioxide Cap and Trade Authorization Act.
Section 2. Declaration of policy.
The General Assembly finds and declares as follows:
(1) As a matter of Pennsylvania law, no statutory or
constitutional authority currently exists that authorizes a
State agency to regulate or impose a tax on carbon dioxide
emissions. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the General
Assembly, working together with the Department of
Environmental Protection, the Environmental Quality Board,
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the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and other
important stakeholders, to determine whether and how to
regulate or impose a tax on carbon dioxide emissions.
(2) The General Assembly recognizes that no statute,
including the act of January 8, 1960 (1959 P.L.2119, No.787),
known as the Air Pollution Control Act, the act of February
17, 1972 (P.L.64, No.20), known as the Uniform Interstate Air
Pollution Agreements Act, the act of July 9, 2008 (P.L.935,
No.70), known as the Pennsylvania Climate Change Act or the
Pennsylvania Constitution, authorizes the Governor, the
Environmental Quality Board, the Department of Environmental
Protection or any other agency or official to adopt
regulations, implement a policy or take any other action to
authorize the Commonwealth to join or participate in a State
or regional greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program or establish
a greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program.
(3) Affordable, reliable and resilient sources of
electric power generated in Pennsylvania are vital to the
health, safety and welfare of this Commonwealth's residents
and to the prosperity of its economy.
(4) The premature deactivation or retirement of coal-
fired and coal refuse electric generation units in
Pennsylvania as a direct result of State action will result
in significant direct economic hardship to the communities in
which they operate and will adversely affect this
Commonwealth's economy, environment and electric reliability
and the general health, safety and welfare of its residents,
businesses and industries.
(5) Given that Pennsylvania is one of the top net
exporters of electricity and the third largest coal-producing
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state in the nation, abating, controlling or limiting carbon
dioxide emissions will have a significant, profound and long-
lasting impact on this Commonwealth's economy and require its
consumers to import electricity generated by out-of-State
fossil fuel plants, canceling out any emission reductions.
(6) In addition to the impact on coal-fired and coal
refuse electric generating facilities, as well as natural
gas-fired electric generation facilities that would have to
absorb a carbon tax, abating, controlling or limiting carbon
dioxide emissions in Pennsylvania will have a significant
negative economic impact on this Commonwealth's industrial,
manufacturing and transportation sectors.
Section 3. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this act shall
have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Department." The Department of Environmental Protection of
the Commonwealth.
"RGGI." The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which is a
multistate compact that establishes or calls for the compacting
states to establish a regional, multistate cap on the amount of
greenhouse gases released by electric generation plants.
"Standing committee." The Environmental Resources and Energy
Committee of the Senate and the Environmental Resources and
Energy Committee of the House of Representatives.
Section 4. Regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.
(a) Prohibition.--Except for a measure that is required by
Federal law, the department may not adopt a measure or take any
other action that is designed to abate, control or limit carbon
dioxide emissions, including an action to join or participate in
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a State or regional greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program,
including the RGGI, nor may the department establish a
greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program, unless the General
Assembly specifically authorizes such a measure or action by
statute that is enacted on or after the effective date of this
section.
(b) Submission to General Assembly.--If the department
proposes a measure of action under subsection (a), the
department shall submit the proposed measure or other proposed
action to the General Assembly as provided under section 5.
Section 5. Process for submission to General Assembly.
Prior to submitting a proposed measure or other proposed
action to the General Assembly under section 4(b), the
department shall do the following:
(1) Submit to the Legislative Reference Bureau for
publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin the proposed measure
or other proposed action that is in the form of legislation.
The publication shall set a public comment period of no less
than 180 days.
(2) During the public comment period, the department
shall conduct a minimum of four public hearings on the
proposed measure or other proposed action and shall conduct
the hearings in geographically dispersed locations in this
Commonwealth, including locations in which regulated sources
of carbon dioxide emissions would be directly economically
affected by the proposal.
(3) Following the public comment period, the department
shall compile a report that will be submitted to both
standing committees. The report shall include the following
information:
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(i) A list of all individual facilities, by county,
that would be subject to the proposed measure or other
proposed action, along with:
(A) the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by each
of the facilities;
(B) the estimated cost that each of the
facilities would incur to comply with the proposed
measure or other proposed action;
(C) the effect that the proposed measure or
other proposed action would have on the price of
electricity ($/MWh net) that each of the facilities
generates;
(D) a list of the facilities that, under the
proposed measure or other proposed action, would be
unlikely to continue to operate;
(E) for the other electric generation
facilities, an assessment of the extent to which they
would be likely to operate after the proposed measure
or other proposed action had been fully implemented;
(F) an assessment of the decrease of electricity
that would be exported from Pennsylvania after the
proposed measure or other proposed action had been
fully implemented; and
(G) an assessment of the contribution to
resilience and diversity in the Pennsylvania electric
generation fleet from each of the affected facilities
and the impacts upon the resilience and diversity in
the event that any or all of the facilities are
forced to close.
(ii) A summary of the impacts on all industries
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whose public testimony or comments were received by the
department during the public comment period.
(iii) An estimate of the net carbon dioxide emission
reductions that the proposed measure or other proposed
action would engender within the PJM Interconnection
region, taking into account the electricity generation in
neighboring states where there is not a regulation or tax
on carbon dioxide emissions.
(iv) A summary and justification of any provisions
in the proposed measure or other proposed action that
would address leakage.
(v) A description of the economic and fiscal impacts
that would result from the proposed measure or other
proposed action, including the following impacts:
(A) Direct and indirect costs to the
Commonwealth and its political subdivisions and the
private sector.
(B) The impact of any action or measure upon the
wholesale and retail price of electricity, both
directly and indirectly, broken down by classes of
electricity consumers, including, but not limited to,
residential, commercial, industrial and
transportation.
(C) Adverse effects on prices of goods and
services, productivity or competition.
(D) The nature of the reports, forms or other
paperwork that would be required for implementation
and administration of the action or measure and the
estimated cost for individuals, businesses and
organizations in the public and private sectors to
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prepare them.
(E) The nature and estimated cost of legal,
consulting or accounting services that the public or
private sector would be required or likely to incur
for implementation and administration of the action
or measure.
(F) The impact that it would have on the public
interest to exempt individuals, employers or
facilities from compliance or require the
individuals, employers or facilities to comply with
less stringent standards when it would be lawful,
desirable and feasible.
(vi) Whether a less costly or less intrusive
alternative method of achieving the goal of the proposed
measure or other proposed action has been considered for
an employer or facility that would otherwise be subject
to the proposed measure or proposed action.
Section 6. Effective date.
This act shall take effect immediately.
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