Over the past few years, a battle has been brewing over Gov. Wolf’s plan to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
Falsely billed as a “market-driven” cooperative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the truth is RGGI would impose a carbon tax on electricity production, increase electricity costs for Pennsylvanians, and cost thousands of jobs.
Every other state that’s joined RGGI to date has done so with the consent of the legislature. But true to his “Lone Wolf” approach, Wolf has attempted to bypass our General Assembly—where opposition to RGGI is bipartisan—and join by executive order.
Earlier this month, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission, which is tasked with reviewing regulations, voted 3-2 to approve Wolf’s move. Lawmakers have one more opportunity, however, to stop Wolf’s latest tax hike attempt.
On September 2, the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee passed a ‘disapproval resolution’ on RGGI. And on September 14, the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee did the same. If the full House and Senate pass the resolution, it would head to Wolf. He would, of course, veto it, and the Legislature would need a two-thirds majority to override the veto.
Here’s where things get interesting: Should the Legislature fail to block RGGI, the final up or down vote would come from none other than Attorney General Josh Shapiro.
It’s no secret Shapiro is running for governor next year. Trades unions have been among his largest political donors, giving him hundreds of thousands of dollars to date. But trades unions staunchly oppose RGGI as they know thousands of their members would lose their jobs.
Will Shapiro knowingly put thousands of Pennsylvanians out of work and hike electricity costs statewide to please his progressive allies? Or will he stand up for Pennsylvanians by rejecting Wolf’s move to bypass the people’s representatives in the Legislature and unilaterally join RGGI?
That’s an answer only time will tell. We’ll be watching.