Bill requiring authorization of carbon tax approved

By Patrick Cloonan

Dr. Caleb Rossiter of the CO2 Coalition provided expert testimony to the Pennsylvania Senate before this vote. A video is available here.

HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Senate has passed and sent to Gov. Tom Wolf state Rep. Jim Struzzi’s House Bill 2025, which would require legislative authorization before the Keystone State could impose a carbon tax on employers engaged in electric generation, manufacturing or other industries.

It also would require legislative approval for Pennsylvania to join the multi-state Northeast Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which would impose such a tax.

“It gives a voice back to the people by allowing those of us who represent them to have a say in this process,” Struzzi, an Indiana Republican, said in a news release. “Given Pennsylvania is already ahead of the carbon dioxide reduction goals established under the governor’s Climate Action Plan, why would we want to jeopardize thousands of Pennsylvania jobs and trigger significantly higher electricity rate increases when the existing competitive market has already achieved these gains?”

The vote was 33-17, with one Republican, Thomas Killion of Delaware County, voting in the minority and five Democrats, Christine Tartaglione of Philadelphia and Allegheny County senators James Brewster, Wayne Fontana, Pam Iovino and Lindsey Williams voting with the majority.

“This is an issue that directly impacts the lives and livelihoods of thousands of Pennsylvania families,” said state Sen. Joe Pittman, R-Indiana, who authored a companion bill to HB 2025, Senate Bill 950. “The Senate acted in a bipartisan manner to move it to his desk, so it’s now up to the Governor to follow up on his previous statements about wanting to work in a collaborative effort.”

Wolf already has said he would veto the legislation. It is also is opposed by environmental groups, including the Sierra Club whose Pennsylvania Clean Energy Program Director Tom Schuster said “it seems the Pennsylvania Legislature doesn’t care about stabilizing the climate or protecting their constituents from the harm pollution can cause to their communities now and in the future.”

This article appeared on the mdjonline website at https://www.mdjonline.com/neighbor_newspapers/extra/news/bill-requiring-authorization-of-carbon-tax-approved/article_5a617fce-1456-5e3a-a1dd-c09e6255a65d.html