Updated: Sep 14
Image courtesy of the DEP website.
The Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board (EQB) on Sept. 15 voted to promulgate a regulation to limit carbon pollution from power plants. The proposed regulation will be reviewed by the Office of the Attorney General and a public comment and participation period will be announced at a later date.
The vote in the EQB was 13 to 6.
GASP lauded the approval.
“Pennsylvania contributes a disproportionate amount of climate change-causing air pollutants in the United States – an issue that badly needs to be addressed,” GASP Executive Director Rachel Filippini said. “We applaud this first step. When you’re in a climate emergency, you must take decisive action.”
Under the proposed regulation, electric power plants that emit carbon dioxide will be required to obtain credits compatible with other states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Modeling from DEP shows that participating in RGGI will decrease climate change-causing carbon dioxide pollution as well as generate new jobs and reduce air pollution-related illnesses.
“This is an important step for Pennsylvania’s efforts to combat climate change, which is already having and will continue to have a dramatic effect on Pennsylvania,” DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell said in a press release. “This is incredibly important and we are looking forward to hearing from the people of Pennsylvania about this effort.”
Electricity generation is one of the leading sources of carbon dioxide emissions in Pennsylvania, and the commonwealth is a leading emissions source in the country. The proposed regulation would reduce carbon emissions by an estimated 188 million tons between 2022 (when the regulation would go into effect) and 2030.
In addition, DEP officials said other benefits of RGGI for Pennsylvania include:
Reduce carbon emissions by 188 million tons
Increase of more than 30,000 jobs
Reduction of other air pollutants like SO2 and NOx
Avoiding 639 premature deaths from air pollution-related health issues
Editor’s Note: More information about RGGI can be found at www.dep.pa.gov/RGGI