Harrisburg, Pa. − July 30, 2020 − Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa, Jr. today introduced Senate Bill 15, creating a “Cap and Invest” program for the state’s electric power sector, along with the support of 17 cosponsors.
“The federal government has abdicated responsibility on climate change — states, local governments, private companies and citizens must take the lead in enacting equitable policies to mitigate the growing impacts of climate change,” said Senator Costa.
The legislation will instruct the Environmental Quality Board to reduce carbon pollution emissions from the electric power sector – the largest source of emissions in Pennsylvania – by at least 90% by 2040 relative to baseline emissions. The Board can develop a market-based carbon pollution limit, which ensures a technology neutral, flexible approach that incentivizes the most cost-effective emission reductions and generates revenue for investments in economic development, workforce training, energy efficiency, renewable energy and energy affordability.
The legislation also enables the Board to adopt mechanisms that facilitate deployment of zero—emissions technologies, measures that provide for ongoing assessment of emission sources in the electric power sector that adversely affect disadvantaged communities and for reductions in harmful air pollution affecting communities, protect against emissions leakage across state borders, and to join one or more multijurisdictional programs for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (aka RGGI).
“Pennsylvania has already made important strides towards reducing greenhouse gases, and mayors from Pennsylvania’s two largest cities have already committed to reducing carbon emissions,” said Senator Costa. “But more work is needed to achieve emission reductions and to make sure Pennsylvania isn’t left behind in the burgeoning growth of clean energy technologies and jobs.”
Further, the bill provides that revenue generated from the program be directed towards programs that promote clean air, mitigate utility bill impacts and protect low-income consumers, increase energy efficiency, and assist workers and communities impacted by the closure of power plants or mines.