PA Bill Strips DEP’s Authority to Cut Carbon Pollution

HARRISBURG, PA -- The Pennsylvania House passed HB637 today and it now goes to the State Senate. The bill incorrectly states that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) lacks the authority to regulate carbon pollution from the power sector, then strips the DEP of its regulatory authority under the state Air Pollution Control Act. The bill would kill the DEP’s proposed CO2 Budget Trading Program, which would enable Pennsylvania to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), and require the DEP to obtain legislative approval before developing any other carbon regulation.

Following is reaction from Mark Szybist, Senior Attorney for the Climate & Clean Energy Program at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council):

“Since Governor Wolf directed Pennsylvania to propose a RGGI regulation in 2019, some state legislators have fought the program tooth and nail. HB637 is the latest attempt by RGGI opponents to scuttle the state’s efforts to cut carbon pollution from the power sector, and it goes dangerously beyond RGGI. It would take away the DEP’s most important tool for mitigating climate change: the ability to regulate carbon dioxide emissions.

“Climate change is already causing death, displacement, and billions of dollars of damages in Pennsylvania. RGGI gives the state a chance to address climate change, while also raising funds to cut electricity bills of households and businesses, support former coal communities, and invest in communities of color and low-income communities.”

NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

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