Burns: Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative will hurt, not help Pennsylvanians

Will have devastating effects on coal industry, increase energy costs

HARRISBURG, Oct. 4 – State Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, released the following statement regarding Governor Tom Wolf’s executive order, directing the state Department of Environmental Protection to draft regulations to join the nine-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Doing so means that the state will set a cap on power plant emissions and require plants that exceed that limit to purchase additional allowances.


“I clearly oppose the governor’s efforts to implement RGGI. RGGI won’t protect jobs in our area or keep energy rates low. It will actually do the opposite by devastating our state’s already-struggling coal plants and will force them out of business. Taxing coal to pay for subsidies for other forms of energy is not the American way.


“Our coal industry accounts for 20 percent of the power in our state and supports more than 17,000 jobs. If those plants close their doors, that would be a proverbial economic punch to the gut, both in lost jobs and higher power bills.


“If Pennsylvania officially joins this initiative, areas of the state that have suffered job and industry losses due to RGGI should be the first ones compensated from any savings or revenue that’s gained.


“It makes me angry that the governor decided to bypass the legislature on this effort. I’d like to know who gave him the power to do this. It’s un-American and extremely unfair to all hard-working Pennsylvanians.”