Last month, with little state of national attention, Pennsylvania’s outgoing Democratic Governor Tom Wolf signed an executive order which enters Pennsylvania into the disastrous Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. This is a pact between 11 northeastern states to lower greenhouse gas emissions by taxing energy production. But Pennsylvania, home base for the bountiful Marcellus Shale, is the third-largest producer of power in America thanks to its stockpile of coal and natural gas.
This initiative figuratively slits the wrists of the state economy.
As the Energy and Environment newsletter put it, Pennsylvania’s joining RGGI “represents a massive expansion of carbon pricing in America—capping power plant emissions in one of the country’s leading electricity-generating states.”
Worse, almost all of the states that have joined RGGI are the bluest of blue states – most all with crumbling economies, including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.
Does Pennsylvania really aspire to be more like New York? The state that has lost more than one million residents over the past decade.
The executive order is almost certainly unconstitutional because state law requires taxes to be levied by the legislature, not by a fiat order of the Governor. The initiative will clearly make power bills more expensive and reduce output and jobs from the Marcellus.
Virginia was a member of RGGI, but new GOP governor Glenn Youngkin wisely pulled the state out. We hope Pennsylvania’s new GOP gubernatorial candidate, Doug Mastriano, and the Republicans in the legislature make pulling PA out of the RGGI a major issue in the November elections. The Democratic nominee for Governor, Josh Shapiro has waffled on the issue.
It’s simple really: Pennsylvania should aspire to be more like Florida, and less like New Jersey.