PA Court Rules Against Carbon Pricing
November 06, 2023
A Pennsylvania state court has ruled that the state cannot enforce a regulation to make power plant owners pay for their greenhouse gas emissions. The ruling is a setback against a plan that would make Pennsylvania the first leading fossil fuel state to adopt carbon pricing through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
The regulation would have authorized a cap-and-trade program with power plants required to pay for each ton on carbon dioxide they emit.
The court ruled that the state’s Department of Environmental Protection does not have the constitutional authority to collect revenue from the program, and that only the legislature can levy taxes.
A study published by the University of Pennsylvania reports that Pennsylvania would reduce emissions by 80 percent under RGGI’s cap-and-invest program. Under RGGI, participating states agree to set a cap on emissions on power generation that declines about 3 percent each year. Power generators must buy allowances at auctions for each ton of carbon they will emit above the cap, with proceeds going to the states to assist in the transition to clean energy.