Being self-quarantined now for more than 100 days, I have become addicted to watching the Pennsylvania House and Senate on PCN.
Early this week, I witnessed a hearing by the Pennsylvania Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee. The hearing was to examine Pennsylvania’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Although, a group of Republicans in Harrisburg are trying everything they can to prevent this from happening.
RGGI is a collaboration between nine New England and Mid-Atlantic states (New Jersey will join the program in 2020 and Virginia is expected to join in 2021). RGGI is aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by setting caps on total carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.
Joining RGGI will have positive long-term impacts on Pennsylvania’s economy and environment, despite what panelists were claiming at the hearing. Since it took effect in 2009, carbon emissions from power plants in RGGI states have fallen by 47 percent. This decline is 90 percent greater than in the rest of the country. Meanwhile, economic growth in the RGGI states outpaced the rest of the country by 31 percent. The lifetime benefits of RGGI will save Pennsylvania consumers $1,400,000,000 in lifetime energy bills.
The coal industry is dying. Put it out of its misery, it is killing us. It’s time to move our state in a different direction, one that points toward clean, renewable energy. I strongly urge the senate to get behind any and all bills allowing Pennsylvania to join RGGI.
John Coffey, Hatfield, Pa.
Read More: The coal industry is dying. Put it out of its misery | PennLive letters