Vitali: Committee passes bill delaying state climate change plan

Gov. Wolf will not oppose bill if it reaches his desk

HARRISBURG, June 13 – State Rep. Greg Vitali, D-Delaware/Montgomery, said the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee today approved a bill supported by Gov. Tom Wolf that would delay the state’s plan to address climate change.  

Vitali, Democratic chairman of the committee, said the bill, S.B. 1195, would allow the legislature to delay implementation of the state’s Clean Power Plan as long as possible without a federal plan being imposed on it.

Vitali said Wolf indicated he will not oppose the bill, which marks the third time he has recently succumbed to the pressure of the fossil fuels industry.

“First, it was the forced resignation of DEP Secretary John Quigley, next, it was agreeing to remove conventional drillers from the Chapter 78 regulations, and now, it’s agreeing to delay the Clean Power Plan,” Vitali said. “It is incredibly disappointing that the governor continues to side with the industry over the health and well-being of Pennsylvania citizens.”

The federal Clean Power Plan, which was recently stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court, requires Pennsylvania to develop a state climate change implementation plan to reduce greenhouse gases.

Under Environmental Protection Agency regulations, Pennsylvania is required to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 33 percent by 2030.

“This is an enormous challenge and every day we delay makes this task harder,” Vitali said. “Climate change is too serious a problem to delay.”

Vitali said the Paris climate agreement adopted in December by 196 countries reaffirmed that global temperature rise must be limited to below 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

“To achieve this, we need to dramatically increase our use of renewable energy and reduce our use of fossil fuels - particularly coal,” he said.

The bill could be considered by the full House as soon as Tuesday.