HARRISBURG – Rep. Valerie Gaydos (R-Allegheny) today issued the following statement regarding the passage of House Bill 2025
, which would require legislative approval before Pennsylvania could impose a carbon tax on electric generation, manufacturing or other industries operating in the Commonwealth, or enter into any multi-state program, such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), that would impose such a tax.
“Everyone wants clean air and clean water—we are right to strive for these goals,” said Gaydos. “However, this legislation is not about whether we should or should not join RGGI. Instead, this legislation is about the process by which our state should enter into an agreement of this kind.
“Today I voted alongside my Western Pennsylvania colleagues to reiterate the importance of the separation of powers established by our Constitution. Clearly stated in Article III, Section 10 of our state Constitution is the provision that ‘all bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.’ Pennsylvania’s entrance into RGGI, and the establishment of a carbon tax, is not something that can be done by executive order.
“Entering RGGI may very well be a positive force for Pennsylvania. However, when the governor announced his Oct. 3 executive order directing the Department of Environmental Protection to develop proposed regulations to join the initiative, he failed to articulate how joining RGGI would affect the average Pennsylvania ratepayer, or even where the proceeds would go. This kind of haphazard decision-making is unacceptable.
“Furthermore, executive action is the weakest possible legal approach for Pennsylvania to associate with RGGI. Any decision on doing so deserves to be on sound legal footing, with the input of the Legislature.
“Therefore, the determination on whether to join an important initiative like RGGI should be made by the Legislature and only after open, transparent and comprehensive debate which establishes a solid, long-term energy policy to benefit all Pennsylvanians. To proceed in any other way would be unconstitutional.”
The Pennsylvania DEP is expected to bring its proposed regulations to the Environmental Quality Board for a vote at its July 21 meeting.
House Bill 2025 passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 130-71 on Wednesday.
Representative Valerie Gaydos
44th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Michael Plummer