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Clean Power PA Coalition Applauds Legislation to Establish Carbon Cap & Invest Program for Pennsylvania’s Power Sector


HARRISBURG-- (June 6, 2019) –The Clean Power PA Coalition today applauded the effort of State Senator Jay Costa (D-Allegheny County) to require dramatic reductions of carbon dioxide pollution from Pennsylvania’s power plants, including through a “cap and invest” program  Senator Costa has circulated a cosponsorship memo indicating he will soon introduce the Energy Innovation and Investment Act, legislation that would instruct Pennsylvania’s Environmental Quality Board (EQB) to reduce power-sector emissions at least 90% by 2040. 

“Capping carbon emissions from Pennsylvania’s power sector is absolutely critical in order to reduce a major source of pollution driving climate change,” said Tom Schuster, Senior Campaign Representative for Pennsylvania Sierra Club. “This legislation is a concrete step toward achieving the goals Governor Wolf has set forth in committing Pennsylvania to the U.S. Climate Alliance and to building a clean and healthy commonwealth now and for future generations.”

The Energy Innovation and Investment Act is geared toward the development of a market-based carbon pollution limit that would yield revenue that could be invested in any number of worthwhile clean energy, renewable energy and energy efficiency programs. The bill also intends to specifically address communities disproportionately impacted by pollution. 

Furthermore, it will ensure that revenue generated by the carbon cap be deployed to protect low-income consumers, promote clean air and provide for a just transition for workers and communities that need assistance in making the shift toward cleaner renewable energy technologies.

“Curbing carbon pollution is vital to putting Pennsylvania on the path to a cleaner, more prosperous future,” said Mark Szybist, Senior Attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “If passed, this legislation would slash harmful emissions and raise funds to help displaced workers and lower energy bills for low-income Pennsylvanians. Paired with strong goals for renewable energy and energy efficiency, a cap-and-invest program would create tens of thousands of jobs and position the state for a clean energy future.”

Senator Costa is continuing to demonstrate leadership in the area of tackling climate change in Pennsylvania, as he began to do in 2018 with the introduction of the “Pennsylvania Climate Change Mitigation Act,” legislation that directed the commonwealth to work toward the goals of the Paris Climate Commitment and the federal Clean Power Plan.

“It is clear the federal government has abdicated responsibility for climate action and that it is up to states and cities to lead the way so that we can avert the worst climate impacts facing our state, nation and planet,” said Mollie Michel, Pennsylvania Field Consultant for Moms Clean Air Force. “We are excited to see legislation that would shift Pennsylvania away from the fossil-fuel energy infrastructure that has for decades been exacerbating air pollution and creating harmful health impacts for our children and families.”  

The effort to implement a power-sector cap and invest program comes just over a month after the release of Pennsylvania’s latest Climate Action Plan, the PA Department of Environmental Protection’s most specific and concerted effort yet on its continued trajectory to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate their impacts on the commonwealth’s environment and public health of its residents. 

At the time, the Clean Power PA Coalition applauded the new plan and the inclusion of Pennsylvania in the U.S. Climate Alliance but also urged the implementation of a definitive policy to link action with those goals.  Setting more ambitious renewable energy standards to achieve a strong market dynamic for renewable energy in Pennsylvania would be a complementary element of a strong and balanced climate action plan. 

“We look forward to the swift introduction of the Energy Innovation and Investment Act and encourage support for this comprehensive climate change plan from senators across the commonwealth. It is a tremendous opportunity for Pennsylvania to improve the health of our families and drive forward a clean and resilient energy economy that benefits all residents no matter where they may live,” said Jacquelyn Bonomo, President and CEO of PennFuture.

The Clean Power PA Coalition is a group of clean energy, business, faith, and community leaders committed to protecting Pennsylvania’s environment and powering its economy through clean energy. The coalition includes the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), PennFuture, Clean Air Council, Moms Clean Air Force, Penn Environment, NextGen Climate America, Conservation Voters of PA, Clean Water Action, Voces Verdes, Sierra Club, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Audubon Pennsylvania, Physicians for Social Responsibility-Philadelphia , Climate Parents, Partnership for Policy Integrity, Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light, Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association, Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, Sustainable Pittsburgh and Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2). 

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