In response to the Commonwealth Court’s decision on Pennsylvania’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the electric generation sector, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council issued the following statement:
“Today’s decision marks another unfortunate delay for action on climate change and preparing Pennsylvania and its communities to succeed in the inevitable clean energy transition.
It’s important to note what was not questioned by the lower court’s decision – that there is an undeniable need to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, and that RGGI offers the clear benefits of a demonstrated, efficient, and flexible means to do so. The court also did not absolve the Governor or General Assembly’s responsibility, under Article I, Section 27 of the state constitution, to address climate change and greenhouse gas pollution.
For the moment, Pennsylvania is without a plan. But the opportunity to act is not foreclosed for the Governor or General Assembly, or the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for that matter. What happens next can’t be left to further excuse or delay.
Grasping this lower court ruling as the end of the conversation – or responsibility to act – is signaling the intent to let our state fall further behind and to suffer the consequences. All while Pennsylvanians continue to see increased impacts and costs resulting from climate change, communities and workers continue to lack support in the transition, consumers continue to feel the effects of reliability and cost uncertainty from existing energy generation, and as other states continue to eclipse us in clean energy investment and growth.
PEC doesn’t take the enormity of this challenge lightly. But we also aren’t willing to forgo opportunities that present real solutions and benefits, nor the obligation to act. RGGI is one of those opportunities.”