Board approves power plant pollution regulation proposal in Pennsylvania

Environment

PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board voted 13-6 in favor of promoting the limit of carbon pollution from power plants, the state Department of Environmental Protection announced on Tuesday.

Under the proposed regulation, electric power plants that emit carbon dioxide will be required to obtain credits compatible with other states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

The DEP says modeling showed that participating in RGGI will decrease climate change-causing carbon dioxide pollution in addition to providing new jobs and reduce illness related to air pollution.

The proposal will now be reviewed by the Attorney General’s Office while a public comment and participation period will be announced at a later date.

“This is an important step for Pennsylvania’s efforts to combat climate change, which is already having and will continue to have a dramatic effect on Pennsylvania,” DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell said in a release. “This is incredibly important and we are looking forward to hearing from the people of Pennsylvania about this effort.”

The DEP says that other benefits of RGGI for Pennsylvania include:

  • Reduce carbon emissions by 188 million tons
  • Increase of more than 30,000 jobs
  • Reduction of other air pollutants like SO2 and NOx
  • Avoiding 639 premature deaths from air pollution-related health issues

Electricity generation is one of the leading sources of carbon dioxide emissions in Pennsylvania, and the commonwealth is a leading emissions source in the country. The proposed regulation would reduce carbon emissions by an estimated 188 million tons between 2022 (when the regulation would go into effect) and 2030.

More information about RGGI can be found here.

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