Yesterday, the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) voted to move forward a proposed rulemaking for a carbon dioxide budget trading program to address issues of climate change from electricity generating power plants located in Pennsylvania.
Through the proposed regulation, which aims to take effect in 2022 and last through 2030, these power plants would be required to obtain carbon allowances once a cap on carbon dioxide emissions is established. This carbon cap would steadily decrease year-by-year in efforts to reduce overall carbon dioxide emissions to address issues associated with global climate change. The state would sell emission allowances through auctions and invest proceeds in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other programs aimed at benefitting consumers, local communities, and small businesses.
The proposed rulemaking would establish the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, also known as RGGI, which is a regional CO2 budget trading program in the New England and Mid-Atlantic states. Pennsylvania DEP now hosts a website on RGGI which includes an overview of the RGGI program, modeling results on the power sector and the economy, and estimated benefits on the environment, public health, and the economy.
After the EQB voted in favor of the proposed rulemaking by a vote of 13 to 6, the rulemaking process now moves on to a 60-day public comment period along with 5 public hearings. Small businesses are invited to take part in the public comment process.
More information on the public comment process along with dates and times will be posted sometime soon in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. In the meantime, additional information on Pennsylvania's participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative can be found here.