Divide on whether or not Pennsylvania Legislature has authority over carbon tax initiative

(The Middle Sq.) – The Regional Greenhouse Gasoline Initiative, which might implement a carbon tax on companies to cut back CO2 emissions, stays a dividing subject within the Normal Meeting, and the Legislature needs a say in whether or not Pennsylvania will be a part of the multi-state compact.

In a voting assembly of the Home’s Environmental Assets & Power Committee, Republicans had been adamantly against Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s want to hitch RGGI with out the approval of the Legislature. Democrats had been resigned to a invoice delineating the necessity for the Legislature’s approval to take action.

“Senate Invoice 119 merely provides the Normal Meeting the flexibility to have a voice within the course of and a say on whether or not or not our Commonwealth will enter the Regional Greenhouse Gasoline Initiative,” mentioned Sen. Joe Pittman, R-Indiana. “As a co-equal department of presidency, I feel it’s solely logical that we as a Normal Meeting would have a voice and a job on this course of.”

SB119, which Pittman sponsored, states that the legislature is the one Pennsylvania authorities entity that may “decide whether or not and the right way to regulate or impose a tax on carbon dioxide emissions.” It emphasizes that, apart from federal necessities, the Division of Environmental Safety can solely act primarily based on authorization from the Normal Meeting.

SB119 handed on the roll name vote in committee, the place Republicans keep the bulk.

Pittman and different Republicans opposed Wolf’s push to hitch RGGI with out getting approval from the Legislature, and likewise doubted RGGI would drive down emissions within the mixture whereas making electrical energy dearer.

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Democrats disagreed, citing concern for the planet.

“There’s an existential menace to this planet,” mentioned Rep. Greg Vitali, D-Delaware/Montgomery. “And a very powerful factor Pennsylvania may do to handle local weather change this yr is to move the Regional Greenhouse Gasoline Initiative. Make no mistake: This invoice, its intent, is to kill RGGI.”

Vitali dismissed claims that the general public had not been concerned or consulted on RGGI and questioned the motives of Republicans who oppose RGGI.

There’s two commonalities of people that problem RGGI, Vitali mentioned: “One, they by no means acknowledge the seriousness of local weather change, and so they by no means suggest any options of their very own. Simply saying no to each single measure just isn’t the reply.”

“This invoice just isn’t acceptable,” Vitali mentioned. “I do know it’s gonna move, nevertheless it’s a darn disgrace for these youngsters right here.”