Regulation on energy producer emissions was not supported by DEP advisory board
HARRISBURG (May 7, 2020) – As small businesses and all Pennsylvanians deal with the health and economic crisis caused by the pandemic, the Wolf administration is quietly pushing through a regulation on the state’s energy producers that will result in higher prices for everyone in the state. But today, during a vote, an advisory board at the Department of Environmental Protection did not support that regulation.
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) on behalf of its 13,000 members in Pennsylvania, says when small businesses are struggling to survive financially and will for many months, this is a terrible time to even think about dealing with rising energy costs. NFIB applauds citizens appointed to the Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee who voted not to support such a move by the Wolf administration today. It is also grateful to 58 state House members for sending the Governor a letter yesterday making clear many jobs in the energy sector would disappear with that regulation at the worst possible time. Unfortunately, both efforts are not binding on the Governor’s executive fiat.
The regulation would have Pennsylvania join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap and trade program to limit emissions of energy producers that would result in higher energy prices, shut down coal plants, hurt the shale drilling industry, and eliminate many jobs. Workers and citizens worried about the economic fate of their communities did testify during a public comment period. But due to the pandemic, many more cannot testify and Senate hearings on the issue had to be canceled.
“At this time of crisis that is so economically damaging, one has to wonder why Governor Wolf is pushing ahead with a policy that will raise prices, eliminate jobs, and hurt the economy,” said Rebecca Oyler, legislative director for NFIB in Pennsylvania. “There is also a fairness issue when all those who want to speak out against this regulation are preoccupied right now, and they aren’t getting an opportunity to be heard.”
“Small businesses will lead our recovery, and we need to do everything we can to set them up for success,” added Oyler. “Increasing their energy costs at a time when they can’t even make payroll is a big mistake. The administration should consider that the advisory committee didn’t support this regulation so it should stop pushing such an ill-advised policy at such an inopportune time .”