HARRISBURG, PA — In a recent statement, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale applauded Governor Tom Wolf’s decision for Pennsylvania to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is an important step toward reducing the state’s contribution to the global climate crisis.
“By joining RGGI, Pennsylvania is taking responsibility for its role as the nation’s fourth-highest emitter of greenhouse gases,” DePasquale said. “Climate change is already taking a toll on the state’s residents, businesses, farms and infrastructure and is driving up costs to taxpayers.”
RGGI is a cap-and-trade program for electric power plants. As the General Assembly explores how best to use the revenue from the initiative, DePasquale encourages members to consider investing it in maintenance and repair of the state’s roads and bridges which have experienced significant impacts already from climate change due to heavy rains and mudslides.
“I am encouraged to see Governor Wolf taking this bold step to reduce Pennsylvania’s emissions while bringing in a new source of revenue to address our crumbling infrastructure,” DePasquale said.
Pennsylvania’s role as a major energy exporter is primarily responsible for its high ranking in greenhouse gas emissions. Pennsylvania was the last state in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic to join RGGI. During the past 10 years, RGGI member states have lowered their emissions by 47 percent and generated $3.2 billion in revenue.
“Governor Wolf’s action indicates that Pennsylvania is ready to take a leadership role on climate action,” DePasquale said. “I’m hopeful that we will continue to see action to reduce our emissions and prepare our communities for the effects of climate change.”
DePasquale will release a special report on the fiscal impacts of climate change this fall.
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) bills itself as the first mandatory market-based program in the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector. States already participating in the cooperative initiative include Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
Learn more about the Department of the Auditor General online at www.paauditor.gov.
Source: Pennsylvania Department of the Auditor General
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