Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Dep Seeks Input on Greenhouse Gas Curbs State Hears Public as It Formulates Plan

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Dep Seeks Input on Greenhouse Gas Curbs State Hears Public as It Formulates Plan

Article excerpt

Some proponents of the federal Clean Power Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are pushing for an even bigger and more aggressive state response than what the federal government is requiring.

L. Ray Roberts, Pittsburgh regional group leader for the Citizens Climate Lobby, was one of several people who testified Monday night in support of a revenue-neutral fee on greenhouse gas emissions, coupled with a rebate distributed to all Pennsylvania residents, as a fast and simple way to get to and even surpass the 33 percent emissions reductions mandated by the federal rule.

"A $10-a-ton fee on fossil fuel emissions would reduce emissions quickly and would protect all Pennsylvania households from rising electricity costs," Mr. Roberts said at a listening session at Carnegie Mellon University, the second of 14 sessions scheduled by the state Department of Environmental Protection. Seventy-five people attended.

"We are starting with a blank page," said DEP Secretary John Quigley, who chaired the session. "This is an opportunity to engage citizens and get public feedback before we write a plan."

The far-reaching federal mandate - some industry and Republican leaders have called it over-reaching - is the first to target carbon emissions from power plants, the biggest single source of climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. It seeks emissions reductions of 32 percent nationwide from 2012 levels by 2030, and 33 percent in Pennsylvania.

States have the flexibility to tailor emissions reductions to meet their individual reduction targets, and the DEP listening sessions will help the state stitch together what promises to be a diverse and complex plan, Mr. Quigley said.

John Pippy, chief executive officer for the Pennsylvania Coal Alliance, testified that the state needs a balanced emissions- reduction plan that accounts for electric reliability and cost impacts. He said bills to slow the process down have been introduced in 31 states, and he urged DEP to delay action on Clean Power Plan implementation for two years. …

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